updated 10:05 am EST, Mon December 29, 2008
TV converter coupons low
A recent rush in coupon demand may force some analog TV owners to pay full price for digital converter boxes, warns Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey. Reuters writes that Markey, evalauting the US government's subsidy for the converters, has called for an influx of money from Congress to pay for more coupons, the demand for which may soon outstrip supply. The converter program is currently expected to hit its $1.34 billion budget limit in early January, which may mean no new coupons after late January, or at least until some existing ones are officially unredeemed.
The government is issuing the $40 coupons in advance of February 17th, when US TV broadcasters will be forced to shut down all over-the-air analog signals. This should free up airwaves for higher-quality digital TV, as well as white space Internet devices; many Americans still rely on analog antennas however, and may suddenly find themselves without TV despite a continuing publicity campaign for the switchover.