Television transition: coupon elegible converter boxes (CECB)

Since old style broadcast TV is changing, the worry warts are out in full force. The government has $40 coupons for gadgets you can get to convert the new broadcast TV signals to the old format just in case you don’t feel like upgrading your TV. The official government website where you can apply for coupons and learn more about the DTV transition is DTV2009.gov.

The coupon won’t be applicable to just any converter box. The Department of Commerce has a specification that defines the features and capabilities the box must have and those that it cannot have if it is to be eligible. The box must, of course, convert DTV broadcast to a channel 3 or 4 old style signal for your TV. It should also have composit output. It may have S-Video output. It cannot output any modern signals such as HDMI, USB, firewire, or even component. Some optional features to look for include signal passthrough to allow any old style signals to get through the box to your TV and a 12v power capability so it will run off your RV battery system.

Wikipedia has a good comparison chart showing CECB models and their features. Freelabs has a similar chart and some interesting discussion.

When you request a coupon, you’ll be able to choose either one or two. You will need a valid US address. What you get will be two credit card type coupons and a list of nearby retailers selling CECB models such as Radio Shack, WalMart, Best Buy, and Circuit City. You will have 90 days to use the coupons before they expire. Most of the boxes run from $50 to a hundred or more so the coupons will get the cost range down to ten or twenty dollars in most cases.

1 Comment

  1. dtv converter box with component video said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

    […] The government has $40 coupons for gadgets you can get to convert the new broadcast TV signalshttp://sierranevadaairstreams.org/snuze/?p=784What is a Converter Box? DTV Converter Box.Converter Box? A digital television (DTV) converter box […]

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