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Last chance for TV digital converter discount

July 24, 2009 |  2:34 pm
Digital converter boxes for sale at a Best Buy store. Credit: Justin Lane / EPA

Been staring at a blank TV picture since June 12, when broadcasters switched to all-digital?

That's a likely sign the television is of the old analog type and can't process digital signals without a converter box. The federal government has been issuing $40 coupons that nearly offset the price of the boxes, which are available online and in many consumer electronics stores.

But next week could be your last chance to get in on the discount program. The Commerce Department says it will accept applications for coupons through July 31. Applications are taken online, and each household can receive a maximum of two coupons.

If you use a cable or satellite service for television and plan to stay with it, you don't have to worry. These services are already providing the conversion. Also, if you have a fairly recent TV set, it's probably digital and no box is needed.

The converter boxes are usually used by folks with older, analog sets who get their TV via over-the-air broadcasts.

-- David Colker