Converter box business picking up


The NTIA has released new stats showing an increase in the number of coupons requested for the acquisition of a digital-to-analog converter box. The agency is urging early acquisition and trial by consumers, to assure that the boxes are functioning properly when analog reception ceases next February. The numbers from NTIA show that 15M houses have applied for 28M coupons, all but 1.5M or so of which have been sent out. 10.8M have been redeeded, 8.5M have expired and 7.36M are still active. 114K are being requested daily, and nearly 2.4K retailers, comprising 29.5M separate locations, are offering converter boxes for sale.

NTIA is trying and get consumers to resolve their minor technical difficulties well in advance of 2/17/09, and the only way to do that is the relentlessly put out the word. The converter box problem is the least of it. A lesson of the Wilmington NC transition is that most box problems can be resolved instantly over the phone – the trick will be to make sure not all of those phone calls are raining down at once. The more difficult problems will involve shifting station contours and antenna problems of one sort or another – these are will not generally lend themselves to over-the-phone resolution, and the more that are handled in advance, the better.

RBR/TVBR observation: We wouldn’t wait around for government help on this – we don’t see any major influx of DTV educational cash coming from Capitol Hill, nor has Capitol Hill given the FCC or NTIA much to work with. Your website and your air space are prime tools to inform your own viewers.