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Congress extends TV antenna takedown deadline

Switch to digital TV now flips June 12

Posted: February 13, 2009 10:53 p.m.
Updated: February 14, 2009 10:00 a.m.
Congress recently passed the DTV Delay Act, which extends the deadline for full-power broadcast TV stations to complete the DTV transition from Feb. 17 to June 12.

The new law allows more time for consumers to prepare for the transition.

Anyone who subscribes to cable or satellite service does not need to convert.

However, Congress did not require stations to continue broadcasting in analog after Feb. 17, and stations may choose to complete their transition and stop broadcasting in analog before June 12.

If you have one or more analog televisions that receive free over-the-air TV programming with an outdoor antenna or "rabbit ears" on the TV, you will need to be prepared.

You have three options:

n Purchase and connect a "digital-to-analog converter box" to your analog TV.

n Purchase a digital television (a TV with a built-in digital tuner).

n Subscribe to a paid service such as cable or satellite TV.

Each U.S. household is eligible to receive two $40 coupons toward the purchase of two digital-to-analog converter boxes.

Even though the transition deadline has been pushed back, local broadcast stations can complete the transition before June 12. Broadcast stations are required to notify their viewers before shutting off their analog channels.

Those who need to convert should apply for a converter box coupon now.

However, you should also prepare at least one TV in your home now by purchasing a converter box, installing it, and ensuring that you can receive the digital channels in your area before the analog channels are shut off.

Or viewers can subscribe to a paid service such as cable or satellite TV.


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