For some, February 17, 2009 is going to be a frustrating day, as it marks the end of the line for American analog television broadcasts.
Those with old-school wood-paneled TVs are going to either need to go out and buy a new set or purchase a converter box to be able to view the new digital channels. If I wasn’t already gadget-obsessed, I’d be mad as hell if someone forced me to upgrade my TV and I’d be even more furious once I found out how much it was going to cost me.
Luckily, your trusty National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has a solution.
The NTIA will give out two $40 coupons per household towards LG-manufactured digital-to-analog converter boxes. Assuming each box costs $40, you’d be good to go on two of your TVs.
Each box "is designed to deliver DVD-quality digital broadcast images even on older analog TVs." They’ll also feature a V-Chip, closed captioning, easy setup, 4:3 and 16:9 display modes, an ATSC tuner, RF input and output, and RCA jacks.
The boxes should be a breeze to set up but I might suggest hanging a sign in your local coffee shop in early February, 2009 offering to set them up for people at, say, $25 per house if you want to make a little extra moolah when the switchover occurs.