In 1 year, all television stations nationwide will stop broadcasting on analog frequencies and will only broadcast digital signals.
The digital broadcasts are capable of carrying high definition video and surroundsound audio, but require some people to buy new equipment for their old TVs to work on the new signals.
To help people with indoor antennas ("rabbit ears") or rooftop antennas, the US government now offers a $40 coupon
for a digital TV converter necessary for tuning the new signals on exising television equipment.
The coupon is obtainable online
or by calling 888-388-2009
The coupon is meant for someone with old television equipment and:
- receives free TV over the air with an antenna, and wants to continue to get free TV, and
- does not want to buy a new television with built-in ATSC tuner before February 17, 2008, and
- does not want to pay for cable or satellite service.
Anyone who uses cable TV, satellite TV, a "Digital Set Top Box", or a television with built-in ATSC Tuner will be unaffected by this transition, with or without an HDTV.
Anyone thinking of buying an HDTV and wants to use it with free over-the-air channels using an indoor or outdoor antenna should make sure an "ATSC Tuner" is included in the specs of the HDTV.