DTV Converter Box and $40 Coupon



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Are you one of the millions of American households getting your TV programs only from over-the-air local TV broadcasts? If you have an analog TV that has a rabbit ears antenna or a roof-top antenna and you receive your TV programs only by over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts, you need to be aware of important changes from FEB. 17, 2009 thru June 12, 2009 when many local TV stations will stop broadcasting in analog and start broadcasting in digital TV signals.

Almost all local full power TV stations are required by law to stop broadcasting in the 50 year old TV format (analog) and start broadcasting in the new (digital) TV format. What does this mean to you? It means you need to take action if you wish to continue to receive TV programs over the air. Cable TV, Satellite TV and other pay TV subscribers are NOT affected. If you have a digital TV with an ATSC tuner, you are not affected.

Note: The initial deadline has been extended to June 12, 2009 although many TV stations went ahead and made the switch to only digital TV broadcasts on Feb. 17, 2009.

What do I need to do?

1.) Buy a digital to analog TV converter box for your current analog TV.
2.) Buy a new digital TV with a digital tuner built-in.
3.) Subscribe to pay TV services with your local cable TV company or satellite TV provider.

The least cost option is to get a TV converter box and continue to use your current analog TV. The U.S. Government will even help you pay for the converter box if funds are available. The converter box will allow you to receive the new digital TV broadcasts and convert them to the old style signals so your old TV can display them. You even get some extras by installing the converter box.



  If you have an Analog TV
With Satellite TV Service

No Action is needed
With Cable TV Service

No Action is needed
Only using an Antenna

Action is needed

  If you have a Digital TV
With Satellite TV Service

No Action is needed
With Cable TV Service

No Action is needed
Only using an Antenna

No Action is needed


Part of the law passed by the U.S. Congress creates a coupon program for households wishing to use their old analog TV sets after the transition to digital TV. The Federal government is offering up to two $40 coupons to help pay for the converter boxes. TVs connected to cable, satellite or other pay services do not need a converter box to receive programs after Feb 17, 2009.



TV Converter box "coupon" is actually a credit card.


How do I get a TV converter box coupon?

You must apply online, by phone, by mail or by fax. Requests must be received by March 31, 2009. Coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed.



ONLINE - www.DTV2009.gov
BY PHONE - 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009)
BY MAIL - PO BOX 2000 Portland, OR 97208
BY FAX - 1-877-DTV-4ME2


If you want to mail in your application for a coupon:
Coupon application form in PDF format (PDF requires Adobe Reader)

Printable coupon application form:



How to print out form - Click on FILE in browser such as Internet Explorer, then click on PRINT.
Application form

What is a Digital to Analog TV Converter Box?

A digital television (DTV) Converter Box is also known as a set top box. It is an electronic device that converts the free over-the-air digital TV signal into an analog signal viewable on older "analog" television set. Most converter boxes are smaller than a VCR. Some are about the size of a small book, about 8 inches wide by six inches deep by an inch or so high. So they don't take up very much space. The converter box connects between your antenna and your TV set. They come with a remote control and you change channels with this remote, not your TV remote.

The digital to analog set top box connects your antenna or rabbit ears thru the converter box and out to your TV set. It will allow you to continue watching TV after February 17, 2009 / June 12, 2009, the day the transition to "all digital" takes place.

There are some advantages that come with the converter box which many analog TV viewers have never experienced. For example, with the converter box you can display on your TV screen such things as an electronic program guide. The display describes the current TV show and may offer information on the upcoming TV show.

You can see if you are receiving a strong or weak signal from the current channel. You can use the on-screen menus to alter settings and there are built-in controls for blocking channels. Some boxes have a sleep function and there is usually a time of day display. In addition, with digital TV, your local TV stations can broadcast extra channels called sub-channels. Each additional sub-channel can show a different TV program. Some TV stations use their sub-channels for 24-hour weather updates while a PBS station may show re-broadcasts of "This Old House" or "New Yankee Workshop" in addition to the main PBS program. So there is more to see on digital TV.

What is the best converter box to buy?

All approved CECB or coupon eligible converter boxes must conform to a set of standards. Therefore they are all basically going to give you similiar functionality such as a remote control, on-screen menus, conversion of digital to analog TV signals, connectivity for antenna and TV set, a user manual, signal strength display, program guide, channel setup, parental control features and more. Some boxes however have features such as analog passthru or event timers for recording that are not found on other boxes. A few boxes have risen to the top and are generally recommended above others. They are the following:

Zenith DTT900,
Insignia NS-DXA1,
Digital Stream DTX9950,
Zinwell ZAT-970A and
Channel Master CM-7000.

Some people prefer a certain box simply because they like the remote control better. Others want a program guide with more than today's programs. Everyone is different so you must decide for yourself.

See more here: DTV converter box reviews

TV converter box - Insignia Remote control



June 12, 2009 marks the end of analog TV broadcasts in the U.S.A. and the beginning of digital TV (DTV) broadcasts. For those who only get over-the-air TV broadcasts from an antenna, you will need to buy a new digital TV or get a converter box so you can still use your analog TV set to see TV shows. The converter boxes will cost about $50 to $60 but the Federal Government will send out a coupon worth $40 towards the purchase if you apply. They are not really coupons, they are credit cards.

Information on coupons for DTV converter box
Apply from Jan. 1, 2008 to Mar. 31, 2009
www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon/index.html

Apply for coupons for DTV converter box here
www.dtv2009.gov



You should see a screen like this if you are in the right place online.

You will be asked for your full name, address, zipcode, how many coupons (1 or 2) and then you copy the code letters on the screen and submit.

If your submission was successful, you will get a page back showing your reference number, name, address etc.

Coupons will be mailed to the home address with instructions on where to buy the box.

If you get a screen that says "Error Logged" chances are the server is overloaded. Try again later.


In addition to online requests, you can call a toll-free number
Call 1-888-388-2009


You also have an option to mail in your request if you do not have acess to the internet or phone service.

What information do I need to mail in my request?

Your Name - First name, Middle name, Last name
Your Home Address - Street, City, State, Zip code
Coupons requested - ONE or TWO
TV service statement as follows:
• All or some of the TVs in my house are connected to one or more pay services, such as cable or satellite.
• None of the TVs in my house are connected to one or more pay services such as cable or satellite.
Indicate one or the other

You need to sign your name and put the current date on the request. By signing your name, you declare that the information is true and correct.


The following is the list of approved TV Converter Boxes.

Approved converter boxes list www.ntiadtv.gov

  • AMTC AT-2016

  • AccessHD DTA1020U

  • AccessHD DTA1020D

  • AccessHD DTA1010D

  • AccessHD DTA1010U

  • Apex DT1001

  • Apex DT1002

  • Artec T3A

  • Artec T3APro

  • CASTi CAX-01

  • COSHIP N9900T

  • DIGITAL STREAM D2A1D20

  • DIGITAL STREAM D2A1D10

  • DIGITAL STREAM DTX9900

  • DIGITAL STREAM DX8700*

  • DIGITAL STREAM DSP7700T*

  • DIGITAL STREAM DSP7500T

  • DIGITAL STREAM DSP6500R

  • ECHOSTAR TR-40*

  • GE 22730

  • GE 22729

  • Goodmind DTA900

  • Goodmind DTA980

  • Goodmind DTA1000

  • Insignia NS-DXA1

  • Kingbox K8V8

  • Lasonic LTA-260

  • Lasonic LTR-260

  • Magnavox TB100MW9

  • Magnavox TB-100MG9*

  • MaxMedia MMDTVB03

  • MicroGEM MG2000

  • Microprose MPI-500

  • Mustek MAT-K50

  • OLEVIA DTA100

  • Philco TB100HH9*

  • Philco TB150HH9*

  • RCA DTA 800A

  • RCA DTA 800B

  • Sansonic FT300A

  • Sansonic FT300RT

  • Skardin DTR-0727

  • Synergy Global Supply SYN2009

  • TATUNG TDB3000

  • Tivax STB-T9

  • VENTURER STB7766G

  • WINEGARD RC-DT09

  • ZINWELL ZAT-856

  • Zenith DTT900

  • Zentech DF2000

  • Zinwell ZAT-857



Updated list as of Sept 2008

ALPHA DIGITAL AT2016
APEX DT250 *
Access HD DTA1020D
Access HD DTA1020U
AccessHD DTA1010D
AccessHD DTA1010U
AccessHD DTA1030D *
AccessHD DTA1050D *
AccessHD DTA1080D *
Airlink101® ATVC101
Apex DT1001
Artec T3A
Artec T3AP Pro *
Artec T3APro
CADENCE DTVC-9
CASTi CAX-03 *
COSHIP N9900T
COSHIP N9901T *
COSHIP N9988T
CRAIG Electronics International Ltd. CVD506 *
Channel Master CM-7000
DIGITAL STEAM DSP6500C *
DIGITAL STREAM DSP7500T
DIGITAL STREAM DSP7700T *
DIGITAL STREAM DTX9900
DIGITAL STREAM DTX9900D
DIGITAL STREAM DTX9950 *
DIGITAL STREAM DX8700 *
DISH NETWORK TR-40CRA by Dish Network *
DISH Network DTVPal *
Dish Network DISH Network DTVPal Plus *
GE 22729
GE 22730
GE 23333 *
GE 23334 *
Goodmind DTA1000
Gridlink GLT-200
Insignia NS-DXA1
Insignia NS-DXA1-APT *
Kingbox K8V1
Lasonic LTA-260
Magnavox TB-100MG9 *
Magnavox TB100MW9
Magnavox TB100MW9A *
Magnavox TB110MW9 *
Magnavox TB110MW9A *
MaxMedia LuTRO *
Memorex MVCB1000 *
MicroGEM MG2000
Philco TB100HH9 *
Philco TB150HH9 *
RCA DTA 800B
RCA DTA800B1 *
SUNKEY SK-801ATSC *
Sansonic FT300A
Tivax STB-T8 *
Tivax STB-T9
VENTURER STB7766G
Venturer STB7766G1 *
WINEGARD RC-DT09
Winegard RCDT09A *
ZINWELL ZAT-970
ZINWELL ZAT-970A *
Zenith DTT900
Zenith DTT901 *
Zentech DF2000
Zinwell ZAT-857
* These models are capable of passing analog signals through to the TV set (Analog Pass-thru).

Which converter box should I buy? See these reviews of converter boxes and find out.

See what other people bought and what they experienced with their converter box.



RCA DTA800 at Amazon.com

Thomson RCA Digital TV Converter Box, DTA800 at Walmart.com

Zenith DTT900 Digital-to-Analog Converter Box at Radio Shack

Philco DTV converter box



Where to buy converter boxes

Seven of the largest consumer electronics retailers -- Best Buy, Circuit City, Kmart, RadioShack, Sam's Club, Sears, Target, Wal-Mart -- have been certified to participate in the TV Converter Box Coupon Program along with more than 100 other retailers, representing more than 14,000 stores throughout the U.S.

Locate a store near you

Converter boxes can be purchased at any of these national retailers currently participating in the program:

Wal-Mart
Circuit City
RadioShack
Best Buy

Online and Telephone Retailers
Converter boxes can also be purchased online or by telephone and can be shipped directly to your home.
(Pay full price, no coupon use).

Online Retailers:
BSAT e-shop at dtv.bsat.net
Data Action LLC at www.data-action.com
Solid Signal at www.solidsignal.com/dtv2009/
Tivax at www.tivax.com and www.diamondhdtv.com
Convert My TV at www.convertmy.tv (English/Spanish)
Compu Parts and More at www.compupartsandmore.com
Consumer Electronics Group at www.consumerelecgroup.com

Telephone Retailers:
RadioShack DTV Telephone Order Center at 1-877-RS-DTV-4U (1-877-773-8848)
Solid Signal at 1-866-3SIGNAL (1-866-374-4625)
Best Buy DTV Hotline and Order Center at 1-877-BBY-DTV9 (1-877-229-3889)

Converter box TV hookup at ce.org PDF

DTV converter boxes at dtvfacts.com

What is a set-top converter box?

A set-top converter box is an electronic device that hooks up to your analog TV set, allowing it to receive digital broadcasts in an analog format conversion. The box may also be called a “digital-to-analog converter,” “digital TV adapter” (DTA), or “digital set-top box” (STB).

For those who own analog TVs and want to continue receiving over-the-air TV programming, getting a set-top box will be an alternative to buying a new digital TV.

If you already receive all of your TV programming via digital cable or direct-broadcast satellite, you shouldn’t need to buy a separate converter box.

What about standard analog cable TV subscribers? The answer is not yet clear. Analog cable customers may need additional equipment, which cable companies may elect to provide. Or they may need to upgrade to digital cable TV. The solution should become clearer as the shutdown of analog TV broadcasts approaches.

After the switch from analog to digital broadcasts is complete, analog TVs will be incapable of receiving over-the-air broadcasts without the addition of a set-top converter box. The function of the box is to take in digital signals, convert them to analog form and send them out to your TV. While the image you see on an analog TV won’t be high-definition, you should notice a slight improvement.

A set-top receiver will also be needed for a digital TV that does not include a built-in digital tuner, if you plan to use it for over-the-air reception. This includes TVs labeled “HD-ready.”


Why wait, Upgrade now!

There is no reason to wait until the digital-transition deadline next Feb. 17, 2009. You can upgrade right now. Chances are very good your local TV stations are already broadcasting in Digital TV. Your old channel 5 could be channel 55 in digital format. If you have a UHF loop antenna you can most likely pick up their signal, certainly in major cities.

The federal government has made this affordable by offering all U.S. households a couple of $40 coupons, each good for a digital-converter box.

Apply one of these discounts to the purchase a converter, which is $60 at Best Buy and Radio Shack, and you will be getting the box for $20.

There are, of course, alternatives. If you've thought about the purchase of a flat-panel TV, there is no better time. New TVs have integrated digital tuners that pull in the same transmissions a converter does (meaning you don't need a separate converter hooked up to the new TV). Some of these transmissions happen to be in high definition, which means they look spectacular on a HDTV. But any TV (like a simpler, non-HD flat panel or even your old set with a converter) can pull in these channels. They just won't look as good.

Before investing in a converter box, double-check that your TV is analog-only. Even some years-old sets may have a digital ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) tuner. If so, you won't need a digital converter.

If you've been a cable-TV (Time-Warner, Comcast etc.) or satellite TV (DirecTV, DISH Network) subscriber, you can exhale now: All this digital-conversion stuff does not apply to you. Nothing will happen to you Feb. 17, 2009. You do not need to buy a converter or any other new gear.

But if you want to stick with free over-the-air TV, going digital will cost only about $20 to $35 (with the coupons):

Get your coupons. You can request these from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (part of U.S. Commerce Department) at dtv2009.gov. This site has background on the switch to digital TV, along with a coupon form to print out if you want to apply by postal mail. You can also call 888-DTV-2009 (888-388-2009). Hearing-impaired applicants can use TTY service by calling 877-530-2634 (English) or 866-495-1161 (Spanish). Coupons are mailed out and take about 8 to 10 weeks to arrive. 5 million households have already applied (Mar 2008).

Steps to going Digital

Look for the converter at your local Best Buy. Ask for Insignia NS-DXA1 (Insignia model NS-DXA1). The coupons work only at physical stores. At Radio Shack, ask for Zenith model DTT900. Radio Shack has a Digital Stream box for $60, too. But, again, you must physically visit a Radio Shack store to get either of these devices. Wal-Mart has a $50 Magnavox device.

Get a TV antenna. This is optional, since the antenna you have now may work fine.

Set it up. Hooking up the digital converter is a breeze. Your antenna connects to the box via a coaxial cable (look for the port marked "antenna"). Use composite cables with red, white and yellow plugs to link a newer TV to the box. A really old TV may have only a coaxial port in the back, so use a coaxial cable to plug into the port on the converter marked "TV."

You then put your TV on the same channel you'd use for a VCR or game. If your digital converter is turned on, you'll see the first of several set-up screens. Pick a language, choose an aspect ratio (it's likely 4:3, not 16:9), do a channel search to lock in local transmissions, select a time zone — you're done!

Start watching. Some stations will have secondary digital channels with weather info. Elsewhere you'll see stations repeated in standard- and high-def. You'll use the converter's remote to change channels, not the remote that came with your TV set.

Dish Network offers a converter box which can be bought online using your coupons. See www.DTVpal.com

What about battery powered portable TV sets?

Many people have portable TV sets (5 to 9 inch screens) with analog TV tuners. These TV sets will still work after Feb. 17, 2009 BUT you will have to get a converter box that works with a battery pack. You cannot be tied to a wall outlet or it defeats the whole purpose of a portable TV. Of course you could always buy a new digital portable TV when they are available. Currently WINEGARD offers a converter box which accepts a battery pack.

Buy here : Winegard Direct
Battery : Winegard battery pack
Winegard 9-Volt Battery Pack For RCDT09/RCDT09A Converter Boxes (RC-BP9V)
The battery pack takes 6 - "D" Cell batteries and costs about $15.
Battery pack hooks into DC IN 9V jack on the converter box.
Lasts up to 18 hours
ONLY Compatible with Winegard Converter Boxes
Toll Free: 1(866) 454-7566


Winegard Converter Box
Winegard RC-DT09A Digital to Analog Converter Box W/ Analog Pass-Through RC-DT09A (CECB)





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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Background on Digital Television Transition

1. What is the digital television transition?
At midnight on February 17, 2009, all full-power television broadcast stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. Digital broadcasting promises to provide a clearer picture and more programming options and will free up airwaves for use by emergency responders.

2. Will my television work after February 17, 2009?
Analog television sets receiving free TV using an antenna will not work after February 17, 2009 without a converter box. They will still work for watching your VCR VHS tapes or DVD recorder discs but will not tune in LIVE TV shows. Television viewers with these sets that are not connected to a pay TV service will need to take action before February 17, 2009, to ensure their TV sets continue to work for LIVE TV.

3. What are my options so I can continue to get TV after February 17, 2009?
Consumers have a variety of options. If you’re not sure what to do, take a quick quiz to help you figure out what to do at www.DTVTransition.org. Options to explore include:

1. Keep your existing analog TV and purchase a TV converter box. A converter box plugs into your TV and will keep it working after Feb. 17, 2009, or
2. Connect to cable, satellite or other pay service, or
3. Purchase a new digital television with a digital tuner.

4. What is a TV converter box?
A TV converter box is a new product available in early 2008 that plugs into your analog TV and, along with your antenna, will keep your analog set working after February 17, 2009. A TV converter box is a one-time purchase and is expected to cost between $50 and $70. A TV connected to cable, satellite or other pay TV service does not require a TV converter box from this program.

5. What is the TV Converter Box Coupon Program?
Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep using their analog TV sets after February 17, 2009. The Program allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes.

6. How do I get my coupons?
Between January 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, consumers can apply for up to two $40 coupons per household by calling 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), 1-877-530-2634 (TTY), by applying online or by mailing their application to PO Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000. Coupons will be mailed to requesters.

7. Where can I use my coupons?
When the coupon is mailed to you, it will include an insert with a list of nearby participating retailers. You can expect to buy TV converter boxes and use your coupons at retail stores where you would normally buy consumer electronics products.

8. How do I install a TV converter box?
Converter boxes plug into TV sets, either in the back or front, depending on your TV. You will still need your antenna, which works with the TV converter box. Each TV converter box will come with installation instructions from the manufacturer. You should be able to install the converter box using the instructions provided by the manufacturer. For specific questions, you should ask your retailer or call the manufacturer’s technical support hotline. A generic “Quick Start Guide” and installation video are available at www.DigitalTips.org.

9. Why is the digital transition happening?
Broadcasters are transitioning to digital to provide important benefits to consumers. Because digital broadcasting is more efficient, broadcasters require less of the airwaves to provide a better television viewing experience. Once the DTV transition is completed, some television channels will be turned over to fire and police departments for emergency communication and others will be auctioned to companies to provide new wireless services.

10. What is NTIA’s role in the transition?
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is operating the TV Converter Box Coupon Program at the direction of Congress.

11. Will the transition affect me?
You will need to take action before February 17, 2009 if you currently watch TV on an analog TV set that is not connected to cable, satellite or other pay TV service. If you own a television with a digital tuner or subscribe to a pay TV service, you will likely continue to receive TV programming as usual after the transition.

12. How do I know if I have an analog or a digital TV?
What you need to know is whether your TV set has something called a “digital tuner” already built in. If it does, your TV set will work after February 17, 2009. The best way to determine whether your TV set has a digital tuner built in is to consult your owner’s manual. If that’s not possible, you may be able to look up information about your TV set on the manufacturer’s website. Or, you can take an up-close look at your TV set. In any case, you’re trying to find out if your set has an input connection labeled “digital input” or “ATSC” (for Advanced Television Systems Committee, which is the DTV format). Click here for more information on how to determine if your TV is analog or digital.

Here are some general guidelines that may help:

Any TV set made before 1998 was a traditional “analog” set. If you bought a big-screen, projection TV between 1998 and 2004, it may have a built-in digital tuner. But chances aren’t great. Only a limited percentage of projection TV sets (and generally only those 42 inches or larger) included digital tuners before 2004.

If you purchased a new TV set since 2004, your chances of having a built-in digital tuner improve dramatically. Starting in 2004, many of the TV sets sold at popular electronics stores feature digital tuners that will work after February 17, 2009. But it is still a good idea to check to be sure. Even some of the newer TV sets are purely display monitors that lack the internal circuitry needed to pick up digital broadcasts. Usually these sets have been advertised as “HD-ready” or “HDTV monitor” sets. That means they can display digital or high-definition signals, but they need help getting those signals in the first place. You’ll still need a converter or a cable TV connection. TVs made after July 2007 will be very likely to have the digital ATSC tuner built-in. You can also now buy some DVD recorders with built-in digital tuners. A big-screen (40 inch or larger) LCD or plasma TV made after July 2007 is almost a sure bet to have a digital tuner built-in. TVs made in 2008 or later should all have digital tuners but always check to be sure.

13. I’m a cable customer. Will I be affected by the transition?
Cable and satellite subscribers should check with their providers before February 17, 2009, to see how they are handling the transition. TVs connected to cable, satellite or other pay TV service will not require a TV converter box from this program.

14. I live in a community with translator and low-power television service. Do I need to take action before February 17, 2009?
Translator and low-power television stations are not required to go all-digital after February 17, 2009. Viewers of these broadcast stations should contact their station for details. As these stations go digital, consumers will need to take action to continue to receive their free TV with an antenna and may want to consider applying for TV converter box coupons between January 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, because after that date, coupons will no longer be available.

Consumer Options
1. What should I do to be ready for the television transition?
Analog television sets receiving free TV using an antenna will not work after February 17, 2009. Television viewers with these sets that are not connected to a pay TV service will need to take action before February 17, 2009, to ensure their TV sets continue to work. Consumers have a variety of options.

Options to explore include:

1. Keeping your existing analog TV and purchasing a TV converter box. A converter box plugs into your TV and will keep it working after Feb. 17, 2009. It is expected to cost between $50 and $70 and be available in early 2008, or
2. Connect to cable, satellite or other pay service, or
3. Purchase a television with a digital tuner.

If you’re not sure what to do, take a quick quiz to help you figure out your options at www.DTVTransition.org.

2. Where can I purchase a converter box?
Certified retailers can be found on the retailer website (www.ntiadtv.gov) when coupon distribution begins. Consumers will receive a list of nearby participating retailers when their coupons arrive by mail.

3. Will I need to buy a new television after February 17, 2009?
No, you will not need to get rid of your analog TV after February 17, 2009. If you receive your TV programs for free using an antenna—that is, your TV set is not connected to cable, satellite, or other pay TV service—you can purchase a TV converter box and plug it into your existing TV set to continue to receive TV programs after February 17, 2009.

4. Do I need a converter box if I have cable or satellite?
TVs connected to cable, satellite, or other pay services do not require a TV converter box from this program to receive programs after February 17, 2009. Check with your cable or satellite provider to determine how they will support your analog set after February 17, 2009.

5. Will I still need an antenna to receive programming?
Yes. If you currently use an antenna to receive your over-the-air programming, you will still need it after you install a converter box. In some cases, TV viewers may need a new antenna. For help choosing an antenna in order to receive your free, local broadcast TV channels, visit www.antennaweb.org.

Converter Box Option

1. How much do I have to pay for a TV converter box?
When TV converter boxes are available, retail stores will set the price. TV converter boxes are expected to cost between $50 and $70. The Federal Government permits each U.S. household up to two $40 coupons to help pay for the cost of the converter box. After applying the coupon, participating retailers will charge consumers the remaining balance of between $10 and $30.

2. When can I buy a TV converter box?
TV converter boxes are expected to be available in early 2008 at retailers where you would normally buy consumer electronics products. Before shopping for your converter box, you might want to call ahead to make sure retailers have converter boxes available.

3. What is meant by an “eligible” TV converter box?
TV converter box models must meet technical and performance standards determined by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in order to qualify for the Coupon Program.

4. Which manufacturers are making the TV converter boxes? Are there differences?
See them here. TV converter box features may vary depending on the brand; however all models will allow your analog TV to continue to operate after February 17, 2009. The best way to get information on individual converter boxes is to visit the manufacturer’s website—or ask a customer service specialist at a store that sells them.

5. Does someone have to come into my home to install the converter box?
No, you should be able to install the converter box yourself using the instructions provided by the manufacturer. For specific questions, you should call the manufacturer’s technical support hotline or ask your retailer. The NTIA program does not provide technical support. Click here for hookup diagrams.

6. How big is the converter box?
Converter boxes are about the size of a paperback book. Most will fit on top of a small to medium TV set.

7. Can I use the converter box along with my cable box?
No. Converter boxes from this program work only with over-the-air broadcast television signals, not cable or satellite service.

8. Will I receive Closed Captioning through a converter?
Yes. Manufacturers of converters are required to provide Closed Captioning for display on your television.

9. Do I need to purchase a TV converter box that is the same brand as my TV?
No.

10. I have a handheld or battery-powered TV. Will this work after February 17, 2009? Can I connect it to a TV converter box?
Generally not. There are ways to hookup these TVs but then you would lose the portability.

11. Will my VCR or DVD player still work once I plug my converter box into my TV?
The analog equipment you currently use will continue to work with (output to) your analog TV set just as before, but they will not be able to receive over-the-air programming without the TV converter box. Attach the converter to your VCR, TiVo, DVD-R, etc. instead of hooking it directly to your TV.

12. Can I start using my TV converter box now or do I need to wait until after February 17, 2009 for it to work? Consumers can begin enjoying the benefits of digital television today. Because most full-power stations are currently broadcasting both in digital and analog, viewers can plug in their converter boxes and generally receive a clearer picture and “multicast” channels, where they are available.

13. Will I receive High-Definition TV with a converter box?
No. Analog televisions are not capable of displaying High-Definition resolution, but the picture will generally be better with a TV converter box. If you want to view High-Definition TV, then you will need one of the newer sets rated for “High-Definition” resolution.


Coupon Program: Getting a Coupon

1. When can I apply for my coupons?
You can apply for a coupon between January 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, while supplies last.

2. How do I request a coupon?
Between January 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, you can request a coupon while supplies last in one of four ways:
* Apply online
* Call the Coupon Program 24-hour hotline 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), TTY 1-877-530-2634
* Mail a coupon application to: PO BOX 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000
* Fax a coupon application to 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632)

The consumer contact center will operate in six languages in addition to English: French, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. The contact center will be accessible for hearing-impaired persons through a TTY number. The contact center and website can help answer questions you may have about obtaining and redeeming coupons, checking the status of your coupon request, and other issues.

3. Are coupon applications available any place else such as the library or grocery store?
NTIA is working with its partners to make applications available in the places where it makes the most sense for each community. The easiest way to apply is to call 1-888-388-2009, or, apply online. If you don’t have a computer, your local library probably has computer terminals for public use.

4. Will retailers make coupon applications available in their stores?
Some retailers may offer coupon application forms at their stores. Retailers, however, cannot provide the coupons; consumers must request them from the Government. The decision to provide applications is up to each retailer. The easiest way to apply is to call 1-888-388-2009, or, apply online.

5. When will I get my coupons?
Consumers who apply at the beginning or 2008 will receive their coupons when TV converter boxes are expected to be available in retail stores, probably in late February or early March.

6. What will the TV converter box coupon look like?
Coupons will look like plastic credit cards or gift cards used widely in the retail industry. Unlike gift cards, TV converter box coupons will carry no stored value and can only be used towards the purchase of eligible TV converter boxes.

7. Are all consumers eligible for the coupon program?
Yes, but supplies are limited. There are 22.25 million coupons available to all U.S. households. Once those coupons have been used, there are an additional 11.25 million coupons available only to households that solely receive their TV broadcasts over-the-air using an antenna. Households with TVs connected to cable, satellite or other pay TV service are not eligible for this second batch of coupons. Consumers can apply for coupons until March 31, 2009, or until the funds are exhausted.

8. How many coupons can I request?
Each household can request a maximum of two coupons. Each coupon may be applied towards the purchase of a single converter box. The coupons can be ordered one at a time or both at the same time.

9. What information do I need to provide the government to request my coupons?
The TV converter box coupon application requires that you provide your name, household address, number of coupons requested (maximum of two) and whether you subscribe to cable, satellite or other pay television service.

10. Will the government use my name and address for other purposes?
No. Your personal information is protected under privacy laws and will not be sold or used for other purposes other than administering the NTIA Coupon Program.

11. Are nursing homes, group homes and other institutions eligible for coupons?
Applicants must meet the Census definition of a household as consisting of “all persons who currently occupy a house, apartment, mobile home, group of rooms, or single room that is occupied as separate living quarters and has a separate U.S. postal address.” A household is defined as separate living quarters with a separate U.S. Postal address. This definition includes all households located in U.S. Territories, but does not include Post Office Boxes.

12. Can I apply for someone who is unable to apply for themselves, such as an elderly parent?
Yes, but you will need to use their home address which will be validated for eligibility. Only two coupons can be used per U.S. household address, and the coupons are intended for the resident of that household.

13. What if I receive my mail at a Post Office Box?
The government can mail coupons to Post Office boxes in areas without home mail delivery. Post Office boxes will be accepted only for households on Indian reservations, Alaskan Native villages and other rural areas. The government may request additional information to validate the physical location of these households.


Using a Coupon

1. If I can’t find a retailer in my area that carries TV converter boxes, can I purchase one online?
Probably, each retailer will control their offerings online.

2. Can I use my coupons to purchase any TV converter box?
No. The government will provide a list of coupon-eligible converter boxes and participating retailers. You may also ask participating retailers whether TV converter boxes in their stores can be purchased with the $40 government coupon.

3. Can I use my coupon to purchase other consumer electronics products, such as DVD recorders or televisions?
No. Coupons will be electronically coded to be used only for purchases of coupon-eligible converter boxes.

4. Can I use my coupon to get $40 off a TV converter box I’ve already purchased?
No. Coupons must be presented at the point of sale and must be redeemed at the time TV converter boxes are purchased.

5. What happens to my coupon after I use it?
It is instantly deactivated and cannot be used again. Stores may keep them or you can throw them away. You should keep your receipt and a record of your coupon number in case you decide to exchange or return the converter box.

6. Can I replace a lost or stolen coupon?
No. Coupons cannot be reissued. If you have requested one coupon, you may be eligible to receive another. If both coupons have been lost or stolen, or you have requested both coupons, used one, and the other coupon is lost or stolen, by law we are unable to reissue coupon replacements.

7. Can I use both coupons toward the purchase of one converter box?
No. Only one coupon can be used per coupon-eligible converter box.

8. Can coupons be used by other members of a household?
Yes. Coupons can be redeemed by anyone in your household. However, only two coupons can be issued per household regardless of the number of occupants or families.

9. Can I transfer the coupon to someone else?
No, but anyone from your household can redeem the coupons when purchasing a TV converter box from a certified retailer.

10. Do the coupons have cash value?
No. The coupon has no cash value.

11. Can coupons be sold?
No. It is illegal to sell, duplicate or tamper with the coupon.

12. Can a retailer refuse to accept the coupons?
Retailers that are not participating in the Coupon Program will not be able to accept the coupons. Only retailers certified by the NTIA will accept the coupons.

13. How long are coupons active?
Coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed. Each coupon has an expiration date printed on it.

14. How long should I wait before checking on the status of my coupon?
Consumers who apply at the beginning of 2008 will receive their coupons when TV converter boxes are expected to be available in retail stores, probably in late February or early March. Please wait until then to check the status of your coupon.

15. If I used the coupon to buy a TV converter box and then return it for credit with the retailer, can I use that credit for any other purchase at the retailer?
You will not be able to receive cash or credit for the coupon amount, but you can receive cash or credit for any amount you paid out of pocket, if the store policy permits returns or exchanges.

16. Can I exchange my TV converter box for another one?
If the retail store permits exchanges, you can exchange the converter you purchased for another coupon-eligible converter box.

17. If a coupon expires before it is used, can a consumer re-apply?
If a consumer requests only one coupon and it expires before it is used, then they can apply for a second coupon. Once two coupons have been issued to that household, the consumer will no longer be eligible to request any more coupons. Coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed.

18. Can coupons be used toward the price of an upgraded converter box (for example, a box that includes a DVR)?
No. Coupons are only valid for eligible converter boxes. The intent of the program is to allow consumers to continue to view TV over-the-air on the same TV they used prior to the transition, not to enable upgrades in technology.

19. Can a coupon be used to pay for sales tax?
No. The $40 coupon can only be used towards the price of an eligible TV converter box, excluding any sales tax.

20. Can a consumer purchase two TV converter boxes with two coupons in a single transaction?
Yes, if the consumer is purchasing two TV converter boxes with two valid coupons.

21. What is the last day to redeem coupons?
Coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed and will have the expiration date printed on the coupon. The last day to apply for coupons is March 31, 2009, or until supplies are exhausted.

22. If the TV converter box costs less than $40, can I get cash back or use the difference for another purpose?
No, the coupon can only be used for the price of an eligible converter box. Consumers will not get change back. If the converter box is priced below $40, then consumers will only pay any applicable sales tax.

23. If the converter box is more than $40, how can the consumer pay the difference?
The consumer may pay the difference with any other form of payment acceptable to the retailer. Two coupons may not be combined towards the purchase of a single converter box.

24. What happens if a consumer purchases more than one converter box and has only one coupon?
Consumers may purchase as many converter boxes as they choose. However, a single coupon can only be used to purchase one coupon-eligible converter box. If the consumer decides to purchase additional converter boxes, they must pay the full cost.

25. Can two coupons be combined towards the purchase of a single converter box?
No.


Other

1. Who runs the Coupon Program website, www.dtv2009.gov?
The website is run under the supervision of the Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

2. What is the NTIA?
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the Federal government agency in charge of administering the TV Converter Box Coupon Program. More information on the NTIA can be found at www.ntia.doc.gov.

3. Who do I contact to comment on the TV Converter Box Coupon Program?
To comment on the Coupon Program, you may contact us in writing at the following address:

DTV 2009 Coupon Program Comments
PO BOX 2000
Portland, OR 97208-2000

4. Where can I find out more information about the digital transition?
There are several useful websites you can visit:

* Private sector - Digital TV transition www.dtvtransition.org administered by the DTV Transition Coalition
* Government – Digital TV transition www.dtv.gov administered by the Federal Communications Commission
* Retailer participation – www.ntiadtv.gov administered by NTIA for retailers

Someone is available to answer questions or take coupon requests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-DTV-2009.



Standard Terms and Definitions

Analog Spectrum
A traditional, less-efficient and lower quality system that uses radio frequency (RF) waves to transmit and display pictures and sound.

ATSC Tuner
Often called an ATSC receiver or HDTV tuner, allows reception of digital television (DTV) signals broadcast over-the-air by TV stations. May be integrated into a television, VCR, digital video recorder, or set-top box.

Broadcast Spectrum
The entire range of frequencies used for radio and television transmission.

Broadcasting
Using radio waves to distribute radio or TV programs which are available for reception by the general public.

Department of Commerce (DOC)
Department whose responsibility is to "foster, serve, and promote the Nation's economic development and technological advancement".

Digital
Describes a new, more efficient method of storing, processing and transmitting information through the use of computer code.

Digital Television (DTV)
The umbrella term used for the new broadcasting system that uses computer code to transmit pictures and sounds. DTV includes all types of digital broadcasting, including High and Standard Definition television, datacasting and multicasting.

Digital-to-Analog Converter Box
A stand-alone device that receives and converts digital signals into a format for display on an analog television receiver.

High-Definition Television (HDTV)
One type of digital television signal that is broadcast at a higher resolution than the others, providing a higher-quality picture.

Household
All of the people who occupy a housing unit. A housing unit is a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room occupied as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live separately from any other people in the building and that have direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall.

Multicasting
The ability to transmit multiple standard-definition programs at the same time using a single digital broadcast channel.

Nation Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
The President's principal adviser on telecommunications and information policy issues.

NTSC Tuner
A device built-in to a TV that allows reception of analog broadcasting.

Over-the-air
Refers to the transmission and reception of information in a wireless communication system.

Rabbit ears
A V-shaped set-top antenna that is adjustable in length and angle.

Resolution
Amount of detail that can be seen in a broadcast image.

Rooftop antenna
An antenna mounted on the roof of a structure.

Set-top box
A stand-alone device that connects to a television and an external source of signal, turning the signal into content which is then displayed on the television screen.

Standard Definition TV (SDTV)
The basic digital television format closest in quality to traditional analog TV.


How to Hookup Digital Converter Box to Analog TV





Digital to Analog TV converter box (REAR PANEL)

Digital to Analog TV

Connecting the digital TV converter box to your older analog TV involves plugging in the antenna cable to the converter box input jack for ANTENNA and connecting the converter box OUTPUT to your TV INPUT. If your TV is the type without Audio/Video input jacks and only has a VHF 75ohm RF input jack, then use a RG-59 or RG-6 coaxial cable to connect the TV to the converter box. This cable is the same as those used in homes with cable TV or satellite TV. You will get only MONO audio from a coaxial cable connection. If your TV is newer and has RCA audio/video input jacks (yellow, red, white) then you can get stereo sound if your TV has stereo sound capability. Use a yellow RCA cable for video and the two (red and white) RCA cables for audio. Use only the white RCA cable if your TV is not stereo sound capable.

You will change channels on the converter box with the remote control. Your TV or VCR will remain on channel 3 or 4 (or Line).

Hookup Diagram for TV with only a RF antenna input jack. Set TV to channel 3 or 4.



Hookup Diagram for TV with Audio/Video input jacks. Set TV to Line input.



Hookup Diagram for VCR and TV.
Set VCR to channel 3 or 4 and TV to channel 3 or 4.





Will my TIVO work with a TV converter box?

The short answer is it depends on what model you own.

If you own a TiVo HD, TiVo HD XL or Series 3 HD DVR, you are not affected. Your TIVO DVR is already capable of tuning to digital antenna channels.

If you rely on a free over-the-air television signal received through a roof-top antenna, or “rabbit ears”, and you own a TiVo Series 2 DVR, you will need to purchase a TV converter box.

The following are supported TV converter boxes for your TIVO Series 2 along with their IR codes.

Access DTA1010D - 10094
Apex DT250 - 10098
Artec T3A Pro - 10100
Cadence DTVC9 - 10097
Channel Master CM-7000 - 10092
Coship N9988T - 10095
General Electric 22729 - 10102
Insignia NS-DXA1* - 10090
Lasonic LTA-260 - 10091
Magnavox TB100MW9 - 10086
Microgem MGMG2000 - 10096
Philco TB100HH9 - 10101
RCA DTA800 - 10087
Sansonic FT-300A - 10091
Tivax STB-T9 - 10103
Venturer STB7766G - 10093
Winegard RCDT09 - 10099
Zenith DTT900 and DTT 901 - 10090

* Insignia NS-DXA1 with a build date prior to 06/2008 may have stability issues.

IMPORTANT -
If you have a TIVO Series 2 DVR with an antenna connector on the back panel you must have software version 9.3.1 or later to control a digital TV converter box.

If your TiVo Series2 DVR becomes stuck during Guided Setup for antenna (ATSC or antenna with a cable box) at "Please Wait" or on a blank screen, please contact TiVo Customer Support for assistance.

*NOTE: TIVO Series2 single-tuner DVRs with serial numbers that begin with 542 and all Series2 DT (dual tuner) DVRs do not have an antenna connector and are only intended to work with cable and satellite. This functionality will remain unchanged. The software update does not enable these DVRs to receive a digital antenna signal.

If you own a TiVo Series 1 DVR, digital antenna support is not available. If you are currently using a Series1 DVR with antenna, you will lose the ability to view over-the-air channels when they are broadcast digitally. Your DVR will continue to support cable, satellite, and any remaining low-power analog antenna broadcasts.

You must have the proper TIVO software version loaded up on your TIVO.

How to find your TiVo software version
From TiVo Central, select Messages and Settings > Account and System Information > System Information. The software version is listed on the System Information screen.

NOTE: If the DVR is in Guided Setup, press the following sequence of buttons on the TiVo remote to display the software version: THUMBS UP, then THUMBS DOWN, then PAUSE and then PLAY. To resume Guided Setup at the point you left off, press SELECT.

Each TiVo DVR model is shipped from the factory pre-loaded with a specific TiVo software version.
NOTE: TiVo DVRs are automatically updated to the latest software version by the TiVo service, usually within 24 hours of completing Guided Setup if the DVR is using a broadband connection, or 48-72 hours for a phone line connection. Certain features may not be available until the DVR installs the software update.

Software updates are automatically downloaded to your TiVo DVR by the TiVo service as they become available. After the download, the DVR must restart to install the software. The restart is usually scheduled for the middle of the night, to avoid interrupting scheduled recordings or live TV viewing.

Once the software is downloaded, the Last Status on the Phone and Network Connection screen will show "Pending Restart"; this indicates that the DVR will restart at approximately 2 AM to install the software. To speed up installation, you can restart your DVR manually.

So as you can see, you need to have the proper TIVO model, the proper TIVO software, a compatible TV converter box, the proper IR code for the box and you need to setup and hookup the TIVO to use the TV converter box.

How to connect a digital-to-analog TV converter box to your TiVo® Series2 DVR

Use these instructions if:
· you get your TV programming through an antenna
· you have a TiVo Series2 DVR

Your existing antenna will continue to receive the digital TV signals, but you need a digital-to-analog converter box to translate the digital signal to the analog format your TV can display.

These instructions will help you connect the converter box to your TiVo Series2 DVR so you can continue enjoying your favorite TV programs.

1. Locate your IR cable.
It was included in the carton when you originally purchased your TiVo DVR. If you cannot locate this cable, please visit www.tivo.com/store to obtain one.
2. Verify your TiVo DVR’s software version.
Press the TiVo button on your TiVo remote to go to the TiVo Central® screen. Your software version must be 9.3.1 or higher. If you don’t have software version 9.3.1 or higher, connect to the TiVo service. From Messages and Settings, select Settings, then Phone and Network, then Connect to the TiVo service. Once the DVR receives software version 9.3.1, continue with the next step.

Connect your antenna to the TV converter box. Your antenna is probably already connected to the Cable/Antenna RF IN jack on your TiVo DVR. Disconnect the antenna from your TIVO DVR and connect it to the IN jack on the TV converter box instead. Also plug in the converter box’s power cord.

Connect the converter box to your TV. Use a Coaxial cable to connect the converter box’s "To TV" (RF) jack to the Antenna RF IN jack on your TV. Note: This connection is just temporary.

Complete the converter box setup screens
The converter box has some setup screens that you need to complete to ensure that it receives the digital antenna signals available in your area.
Follow these steps:
1. Make sure the converter box and your TV are powered on.
2. Tune your TV until you see the converter box setup screen (usually on channel 3 or 4 if you used a Coaxial cable).
3. Follow the on-screen instructions using the converter box remote control. This typically involves scanning for the digital channels that your antenna can receive.
4. When setup is complete, go to the Settings menu on the converter box.
5. IMPORTANT: Find the Standby setting, and turn if “OFF.” This ensures that the converter box will not automatically power off during a possible TiVo recording.
6. Find the list of channels in the converter box settings. Verify the listed channels and uncheck any channels you do not receive.
7. Exit the converter box menu, and go on to the next step.

Connect the converter box to your TiVo DVR. Take the Coaxial cable you used before and disconnect it from your TV. Instead, connect it to the Cable/Antenna RF IN jack on your TiVo DVR.

Alternate: For better Audio/Video quality, use a red/white/yellow Composite RCA cable to connect the TV converter box to your TiVo DVR.

Connect the IR cable, and position the IR emitters.
The IR cable’s emitters beam infrared channel change signals to the IR sensor on your converter box–just like a remote control does. Place the emitters in front of the converter box’s IR sensor as shown, one on top of the box and one on bottom. Be sure both emitters stick out about 1 ½ inches directly in front of the IR sensor. Use the adhesive strips provided to keep them in place.

Plug the purple end of the IR cable into the IR jack (usually the lower CHANNEL CHANGING jack) on the back of your TiVo DVR.

Connect the TiVo DVR to your TV Your TiVo DVR should already be connected to your TV, just as it was before you connected the converter box. Remember, always connect the OUT jack of one device to the IN jack of the other.

Repeat Guided Setup

Now that your converter box is connected, you’ll need to repeat Guided Setup on your TiVo DVR.
This instructs the DVR how to change channels on the converter box. To repeat Guided Setup:
1. Turn on your TV and press the TiVo button on your TiVo remote to go to the TiVo Central® screen.
2. Select Messages and Settings, then Restart or Reset System, then Repeat Guided Setup.
3. Follow the on-screen instructions. Be sure to select “Antenna with box” when asked for your TV programming source.
4. After you complete Guided Setup, you should be ready to go!


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TIVO hookup to TV converter box diagram


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