Digital TV Converter Box

By: Ben Erickson

NOTE: The free federal digital TV convertor coupon program ended on July 31, 2009. Information about digital TV conversion and how to improve over air digital TV antenna reception can be found at fcc.gov. Assistance in locating over air TV stations broadcasting in your area and finetuning your antenna can be found at AntennaWeb.org.

Danny Lipford with digital TV.At midnight on February 17, 2009, analog television signals stopped broadcasting over the airwaves in the U.S. and digital signals took their place.

While this didn’t affect TV sets with digital tuners, or those on cable or satellite, a converter box is now necessary for older sets that use an antenna.

To help homeowners with the change, the federal government gave away $40 coupons for the purchase of a digital converter box.

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14 Comments on “Digital TV Converter Box”

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  • Valerie Says:
    November 1st, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Can the converter boxes still be purchased even though it has been 2009 that they came out?


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    December 16th, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Angela,
    While the government coupon for free TV antennas has expired, you can still buy an over the air HD antenna for under $20 at most stores like Walmart or Target.



  • Angela soto Says:
    December 16th, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    How can I get this antenna



  • David Giles Says:
    December 9th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I am unable to afford converter boxes I need five.Me,wife,3 kids are living on ssi and cannot afford to purchase.Please help us in anyway.David Giles,6036 Pine Street,Philadelphia Pa.19143,or feel free to call us @2673332623.



  • mary brooks Says:
    November 15th, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I live on ssi n cant afford to get a digital box n i cant afford cable so can i still get the box for free or a coupon


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 28th, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Hi Sarah,
    The federal government free coupon for a digital TV convertor ended on July 31, 2009. I’ve updated the article above to include a government website that gives you more information about digital TV conversion.



  • sarah Says:
    March 28th, 2011 at 2:57 am

    i am in need of a coverter box, and i cannot afford to buy one yet i cant seem to figure out how to get the coupon to get the cost covered …HELP PLEASE!


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Hi Portia,
    A provision in the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allows those whose coupons have expired to apply for a replacement on a first come, first serve basis.

    Info on it is at http://www.dtv2009.gov/CouponProgramUpdate.aspx
    The application form is at http://www.dtv2009.gov/ApplyCoupon.aspx

    You can also apply for a coupon by phone at (888) 388-2009, or mail your application to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208.



  • Portia Knight Says:
    April 23rd, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Ben,
    I sent away for the coupons for the digital boxes last year. However as you probably know they have an expiration date on them, and I was unable to afford them before the coupons expired. I have appealed this with the program website and I have not heard one word! It has benn 6 montha ago. I still can’t afford to puchase them at full price. Do you know of any place to that can help me with this. Thank you for any help.
    Thank you Portia Knight



  • Gabe Says:
    December 22nd, 2008 at 6:33 am

    Thanks Ben Erickson


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    December 18th, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Gabe,
    You should be able to watch all the channels broadcast over the air that have a strong enough signal for your antenna, including channels over 13. Go to AntennaWeb and fill out the address form to find out the channels you will be able to receive and how strong the signal to them will be. Channels listed in red should come in fine with rabbit ears, others may require a rooftop mounted antenna.



  • Gabe Says:
    December 17th, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    I was wondering if you get that converter box up till what channels can u watch?


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 25th, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Armando,
    If your reception is coming through cable, you should not need a converter box regardless of whether you subscribe to their digital service or not.



  • Armando Says:
    August 23rd, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Question:

    I subscribe to cable. Only one of the TVs in the house is connected to a cable box. I currently do not subscribe to digital service. The other TVs are directly connected to the cable without any boxes. Given this scenario, will I need to get any DTV boxes?


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