Digital TV transition benefits Federal Way businesses

For those still using an analog television, time is running out.

Congress had decreed that all broadcasts must be digital starting at midnight Feb. 17. However, in a vote on Monday the Senate delayed the transition until June 12. The House is also looking at similar legislation.

All full-power television stations will broadcast in 100 percent digital. The move will make the pictures clearer but also free up airways for use by emergency responders.

Congress has created at TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep their analog TV sets. U.S. households can get two coupons, each worth $40, to be used toward the cost of converter boxes.

Jack Hill, with Your Wireless Store in Federal Way, has already seen many customers coming in for converter boxes and expects more during the last few days before the switch.

"A lot of people still have questions. I assume I will start to get all the procrastinators," Hill said. "We had a whole bunch at the beginning and I assume we will get some at the end of it."

An employee at Radio Shack in Federal Way said the store has already sold hundreds of the converter boxes. The store has one type of box and is covered under the government coupon.

The coupons can be requested through March 31, or while supplies last. Applications can be submitted online at, by phone at (888) DTV-2009 or mail a coupon application to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208.

A TV connected to cable, satellite or any paid TV service does not need a converter box. TVs with a digital tuner will still work. Generally any TV bought before 1998 won't have a digital tuner. Most TVs sold after 2004 have digital tuners, but not all.

Converter boxes typically run anywhere from $40 to $70. However, the coupon only covers $40. Not all converter boxes are coupon eligible, so it's important to check before purchasing.

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