DTV Converter Box Program Keeps Rolling

With the nation's transition to digital TV just about 10 months away, the government's coupon program for consumers considering a DTV converter box keeps moving ahead, taking requests and sending out coupons to consumers.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration operates the program. The effort provides consumers with a $40 coupon - up to two coupons per household - for use towards the purchase of a converter box that takes digital signals and changes them to analog. The boxes are for analog sets that require converted DTV signals after the nation's switch to digital TV, set for Feb. 17, 2009.

Recently, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said more than 10 million coupons have been requested since the launch of the converter box program on Jan. 1. As of April 4, consumers have redeemed more than 280,128 coupons, stated NTIA figures.

Also, about 89 percent of household requests have asked for the maximum number of two coupons through the program, the agency said.

The internet has been the dominant avenue for coupon requests. NTIA said 60 percent of the requests have been received through its Web site, 38 percent by phone, and 1.6 percent by mail or fax.

On the retail side, more than 1,100 retailers were participating in the program as of April 1, representing 11,448 outlets nationwide. Also, NTIA said it has certified 66 converter boxes for the effort.