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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
8:50 PM Wed, Dec. 12th

Digital TV transition approaching quickly

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Aaron Garfield says interest in the new digital converter boxes is light right now.

Garfield, an employee with Audio Adrenaline, says few people have asked him about the federal mandate requiring the switch from analog to digital television viewing that goes into effect at midnight Feb. 17, 2009.

Garfield added that anyone who bought a television from him in the past year or so likely got one with a digital tuner in it.

The switch mainly affects tri-city area residents who use a television set that is more than five years old and relies on "rabbit ears" or rooftop antennae for reception.

After that mid-February date, television stations nationwide will cease broadcasting in analog and switch to 100 percent digital broadcasting.

Congress created a coupon program for homeowners wishing to keep using their analog television sets after that mid-February date.

The program allows people to get up to two $40 coupons to defray the costs of the new boxes.

Now through the end of next March, consumers can request a coupon online at www.dtv2009.gov or by calling (888) 388-2009.

Shaun Smith has a few important reminders for people needing the boxes.

Smith is co-owner of Prescott Home Entertainment and he says people are already coming in for the new converter boxes.

He is urging people to get them as soon as possible.

"Get it sooner than later - if you are going to do it, do it now," he said. "Don't wait, because they will run out," he said.

Smith recommends that the box people buy have both analog and digital capabilities.

The boxes cost around $50 to $60, depending on the features, and Smith says people should get one box per television set.

Cable and satellite customers are not affected.

For converter information, visit consumerreports.org.

Contact the reporter at jsoifer@prescottaz.com