|David Lathan and his brother Jay trade in a coupon for a DTV Converter at a "DTV Converter Box Swap" hosted by Reclaim the Media, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, the Leadership Academy and several other local organizations during the 17th Annual Beacon Hill Festival on June 6, at the Jefferson Community Center.|
If you still receive your television signal off your old rabbit ears, take notice: On Friday June 12, your television set will no longer receive a signal from local stations.
But it's not too late, digital converter boxes are available at local retailers and $40 converter coupons are still available until July 31. A digital converter box will need to be connected to every television that receives a signal from an analog antennae. Cable and satellite subscribers will not be affected by the nationwide switch, which was originally scheduled to occur in February. President Obama pushed for the delay so more households could prepare themselves.
Unlike an analog signal, a digital signal is transmitted in "data bits." The quality of digital sound and picture is greater than analog, providing higher resolution. It also allows stations to multicast several programs at once. It may also be possible to provide interactive video and data services not possible on analog technology.
The switch frees up airwaves for emergency communications and telecommunications.
If you have not yet applied for the $40 coupon, or received your coupon in the mail, emergency broadcasts are still available on your local radio stations. Every radio station is required by law to broadcast the Emergency Alert System. News, weather, sports and information is broadcast by a number of Seattle radio stations.
To apply for a coupon, households must call 1-888-DTV-2009 or visit www.DTV2009.gov. It typically takes about nine business days to receive your coupons. To track the status of your coupons, visit: https://www.dtv2009.gov/ CheckStatus.aspx.
Some newer television models come with built-in digital receivers. The website, www.dtvtransition.org allows you to check which models come with built in digital tuners. As all local stations are currently broadcasting in digital, it should be possible to receive stations without a converter box after television stations end broadcasting in analog on June 12.
For information on local assistance applying for the coupons, finding a certified retailer that sells the converter boxes, installing a box, antenna trouble-shooting, or other questions, please call or visit your DTV Assistance Center today. Please also make sure your neighbors, friends and family – especially the elderly or non-English speakers – know about the conversion:
For DTV transition assistance in the Seattle-Tacoma area, call 206-508-1277, or visit one of the many drop-in centers, which are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m.:
• Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave. S.;
• Garfield Community Center, 2323 E. Cherry St.;
• Yesler Community Center, 917 E. Yesler Way;
• Van Asselt Community Center, 2820 S. Myrtle St.
You can also visit www.reclaimthemedia.org/dtv for more information regarding the switch to digital television.