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The plan prohibited people with cable or satellite service from requesting coupons. In order to get two coupons, consumers had to state that they had two television sets. In an effort to limit misconduct, coupon requests would be only be taken between January 1, and March 31, ; each coupon would be valid for three months.
On March 12, , the NTIA held a news conference to announce the standards for the converter boxes and the requirements for receiving coupons. With the standards established, manufacturing could begin and the NTIA could select a company to send out coupons. The Commerce Department had no plans to make coupons available only to the poor. Coupons could be requested by phone, mail, or online. The NTIA set the standards for the converter box based on what manufacturers and broadcasters wanted.
LG Electronics , Thomson , Samsung , and Jasco were the first companies to announce plans to make the devices. After June 1, , retailers could apply to sell converter boxes. Each would have to be in the NTIA's Central Contractor Registration database, and have been in the consumer-electronics business for at least a year. Those funds supported an initial "non-contingent" program that was available to all requesting households. In that case, a "contingent" fund would be available for US households not serviced by cable or satellite.
Neither allotment had a means test. The NTIA planned to start processing coupon requests a year before the original transition date of February 17, ; 2. By the end of , the New York Times said "about 40 million coupons have been requested, but to date 16 million have been redeemed, compared with an estimated 35 million televisions that will lose a signal. On January 4, , the NTIA began placing coupon requests on a waiting list after the program reached its maximum allowed funding.
Only after unredeemed coupons expire could new requests be fulfilled.
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A week later, the list had grown to two million coupons. The NTIA Specification is arranged in three categories, describing required, permitted, and disqualifying features. The box must output signals both as a radio frequency output compatible with a television's antenna input , as well as composite video and stereo audio outputs. It must include a remote control, and be compatible with universal remotes.
The units had to support both a center crop of a transmitted image, and a letterbox rendition of a transmitted image. Various technical performance parameters for the digital tuner were also specified. They must decode the Program and System Information Protocol PSIP data from the digital transmission, and use it to provide the user with tuned channel and program information.
Where do I get a coupon for a DTV converter box?
CECBs must consume no more than an average of 2 watts of power when not in use no video or audio display. They must provide an automatic power-down option that can put the unit in standby mode when it has not received any commands for a while. Manufacturers could self-certify compliance with these requirements, but had to provide test results and two units to the NTIA for ad hoc testing.
Among the optional features permitted, but not required, were the following:. DTV converter boxes could earn a United States Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star label if they consume no more than eight watts of electricity while operating, no more than one watt while in standby mode , and if they automatically power-down after four hours of inactivity. Some features disqualified a converter box from coupon eligibility, such as high-definition video output and built-in DVR functionality. Digital cable and satellite set-top boxes that incorporate a digital tuner were also disqualified.
Coupon-eligible converter boxes only tune to one channel at a time, as they only contain one digital tuner and no analog tuner. In order to watch one channel while recording another, one must have two such converter boxes, unless the recording device has its own digital TV tuner. Most video recorders were also unable to change channels under control of built-in timers when using a converter, as channel selection was then handled by the converter.
Then, the converter's tuner will change to the appropriate channel at the time the VCR needs to record. This requires a separate box for the VCR, or the viewer will have to watch what is being recorded.
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Another, less common option is an " IR blaster ", which a recorder can use to control an external tuner, like a cable set-top box or converter box. However, older devices with IR blasters may not be fully compatible with digital subchannels ; the converter box may require the use of a [-] or [. Some older TiVo brand digital recorders received software updates specifically to control digital converter boxes via the TiVo's included IR blaster.
Small battery-operated portable televisions, while valuable in time of disaster , are generally poorly suited to digital conversion. While at least one CECB Winegard's RCDT09A is operable from an external battery pack,  the combination of television, converter, external antenna, and power supply limits portability.
The inability of some boxes to add new digital channels without a full re-scan—deleting all existing channel settings—renders them unusable to viewers who rely on directional antennas and rotors to receive distant stations.
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Signal strength meters, where available, are awkward, typically only displaying information for channels that have already been found. Where the converter fails to receive a channel, an often-cumbersome manual process is usually provided; however, this requires knowledge of which frequencies each missing station is actually transmitting on, rather than the virtual channels each is mapped to by the ATSC protocol. Manufacturers responded by releasing a new generation of models with the feature. Some new DVD recorders and personal video recorders also provide both analog and digital tuners, and therefore could perform the basic functions of a set-top box in both modes.
In early May , the D. The association said it would continue to pressure the FCC to support analog functionality as a requirement of the All-Channel Receiver Act , urge more government funding for low power and Class A broadcasters to transition to digital, and ask Congress to increase the number of such stations eligible for funds. On August 13, , the CBA announced that it would cease operations.
One reason given was the cost required to fight "restrictive regulations that kept the Class A and LPTV industry from realizing its potential", including the campaign to require analog passthrough. Amy Brown, former CBA executive director, said "some 40 percent of Class A and LPTV station operators believe they will have to shut down in the next year if they are not helped through the digital transition.
The September deadline is to allow for possible new construction to accommodate digital equipment. As a result, the NTIA started placing requests for coupons on a waiting list, issuing coupons as previously-issued but unredeemed coupons reached their expiration date. In December , FCC commissioner McDowell urged "those who don't need the government subsidy not to wait on that process before purchasing a converter box for themselves or as a gift for someone else.
During the weeks it takes for the government to process coupon requests, you will lose precious time to hook up the box, check antenna connections, and start enjoying free digital broadcast TV right away. Nielsen Media Research estimated in August that 25 percent of affected viewers would opt for inexpensive converters instead of replacing existing televisions or switching to cable and satellite television subscriptions.
Many retailers had stocked converters based on coupon use and shortages of the converter boxes themselves remained possible. Legislators from the American southwest were among those supporting a delay in the digital cutover, citing safety concerns because as many as a quarter of households in television markets there had not prepared to receive digital signals by January A judge from Hildago County, Texas noted that Latino, low-income, elderly, and rural homes were at risk.
The NTIA was legally required to issue coupons on a first-come, first-served basis; viewers in markets where individual stations ended analog broadcasts by the original deadline did not receive priority handling of their DTV coupon requests.
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On March 24, , the NTIA announced that the four-million-person waiting-list backlog had been cleared, meaning those whose coupons had expired could reapply. The NTIA estimated 17 million coupons had expired, while The analog shutdown for full-power TV stations was completed in mid, with several stations ending analog transmissions well before the June 12, deadline.
Many transitioned on the original February 17 date. In most cases, at least one station in each media market continued analog broadcasts for up to 30 days afterward as an " analog nightlight "—prohibited from broadcasting regular programming, but allowed to transmit information on how to obtain and connect a converter box to receive digital programming and send Emergency Alert System broadcasts. This allowed viewers who had not converted by the deadline to receive at least one channel that would explain the absence of the other analog channels.
The half-hour public service announcement with English and Spanish segments seen on most such stations was produced by the National Association of Broadcasters. Nielsen said 2. By August 5, , consumers had used 33,, coupons. The NTIA said 4,, coupons had been requested but not redeemed. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Alexa Internet. Retrieved April 1, Retrieved August 12, United States Government Accountability Office. September 16, Retrieved June 26, Archived from the original PDF on July 28, Television Week. USA Today.
Retrieved August 6, March 26, Archived from the original on April 6, United States Department of Commerce.
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Archived from the original on June 3, Retrieved September 10, December 22, The New York Times. Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles. The Washington Post. Retrieved January 6,