Participation By "Over-the-Air" Households in TV Converter Box Coupon Program On Track as Nation Marks Six Months Until DTV Transition Concludes

Monday, August 18th, 2008 

WASHINGTON – The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that nearly 6.4 million “over-the-air” TV households, those that rely on an antenna for broadcast TV, have requested about 12 million coupons from the TV Converter Box Coupon Program. The program helps households switch to digital television when full-power TV broadcasters switch from analog to 100 percent digital broadcasts in six months.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 60 percent of “over-the-air” TV households are potential purchasers of converter boxes. Nielsen estimated that there were 14 million over-the-air TV households, at the beginning of the year. Nearly 75 percent of these potential purchasers of converter boxes have requested coupons.

“I’m pleased to report that NTIA’s efforts are on track with helping the most vulnerable households – those that rely exclusively on over-the-air broadcasts,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Meredith Baker. “However, the conclusion to the digital television transition is only six months away, so I encourage all households that may need a converter box to apply for coupons now, and use them to buy a converter within 90 days.”

Household participation is 50 percent or higher in 187 of the country’s 210 television markets for their participation in the Coupon Program. NTIA is sharing this data with its partners and creating special outreach where participation rates are lower than expected.

“Nationwide, with more than 23 million coupons requested and more than 8.2 million redeemed, millions of households are now experiencing the benefits of digital TV because of the Coupon Program,” said Baker. “We will continue to educate consumers about the Coupon Program and will focus our efforts on those markets and target populations that need the most support.”

More: TV Converter Box Coupon Program: Over-the-air Household Participation Rates; Current TV Converter Box Coupon Statistics