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Some District Residents Still Unprepared for DTV Transition

Tahira Lindsay | 6/11/2009, 12:11 a.m.

With the deadline to switch to digital television approaching on Fri., June 12, more than 170,000 households in the District with analog television sets will lose their cable. After that date, all broadcast television stations in the United States will begin broadcasting entirely in digital.

Households that subscribe to cable or satellite services are safe and will not be affected by the digital switch. However, viewers who still receive television programming through an antenna will have to attach digital-to-analog converter boxes to their television sets in order to pick up digital signals. Households that do not make the switch will be shut out of their daily broadcast.

The DTV switch will leave roughly 3.43 percent of metro area residents, and 2.7 percent of the country, without a television broadcast signal, according to Nielsen Media Research. Neilsen also reports that African American and Hispanic households world-wide are leading the way in being unprepared for the transition.

All U.S. households are eligible to receive up to two coupons, valued at $40 each, to be used towards the purchase of digital converter boxes until July 31. The cost of digital converter boxes range from $40 to $70 each. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that over 880,000 District residents have ordered coupons for converter boxes but, to date, less than half of those coupons have been redeemed.

The FCC has contracted with various vendors to provide local DTV assistance to residents through phone support services, walk-in centers and clinics and free in-home converter box installation assistance. For more information on these services, contact the DTV helpline at 1-888-CALL FCC or go online to www.dtv.gov for a full listing of local walk-in centers in your area.

Help with DTV transition:

1-888-CALL FCC

Phone Support:

National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, Inc.
(202) 637-8400

Meals on Wheels Association of America
(703) 548-5558

N4A
(202) 872-0888

National Black Church Initiative
(202) 744-0184

Free local in-home installation:
AmeriCorps
1-888-CALL-FCC
Apollo Industries, LLC
1-800-504- 5677
Deployment Essentials, LLC
(202) 438-0500
Installs Inc.
1800-582-4250