November 21, 2014

Concerns, questions still linger over television transition

By Tim Barnum
Staff writer
Posted

STANDISH — Little Joe’s Appliances and Computers, LLC., Radio Shack dealer in Standish, is a local source for digital converter boxes that will be necessary for households to receive television signals after Feb. 17, when a government-imposed discontinuation of analog television signals will go into effect to leave that signal open for emergency services. According to the Standish electronics store’s owner, Liz Dzuiban, there is still some confusion over the switch.

She says one issue that has arisen several times was people applying for government coupons, which could be applied for at Little Joe’s and offered $40 off on converter boxes, out of spite not necessity.

“I think the first people that went out there and applied didn’t really understand. They were going to get their $40,” Dzuiban said. “People were getting them that didn’t really need them.

“We’re still getting people coming in that want to apply for coupons.”

Dzuiban also says there’s been a temporary delay on getting coupons.

“We applied for some the other day and they (coupon provider, Federal Communications Commission) said ‘funds were not available,’” Dzuiban said on Jan. 7, adding this doesn’t mean that people will not be able to get coupons for the boxes before the Feb. 17 switch date, though.

She said she didn’t know whether or not the issue on the coupon shortage stemmed from people not needing them applying for and receiving the coupons, but did offer ways people could be sure of whether or not they will need the coupons, or a converter at all.

“Some people don’t pay for the local channels (through a cable provider) so they’re still getting the local channels through an antenna,” Dzuiban said. “If their TV doesn’t have a digital tuner they need a digital box. … Most of the LCD TV’s sold now have digital tuners.

“We tried to explain to them before they got the box if they’d need it or not.”

If a television does have a digital tuner in place, Dzuiban said some people might still need to update their television system.

“Digital signal will not travel as far as the analog did,” she said, adding this means people may have to buy newer and stronger antennas, signal amplifiers or antenna rotors.

If Feb. 17 passes by and a household still doesn’t have its digital conversion ready, Dzuiban says the people of that household could still convert to digital – but they’d lose their chance at saving on the transition.

“They will either then have to get a new digital tuner TV or a converter box,” she said. “There will still be converter boxes, just no coupons.”

As of Jan. 7, Dzuiban said Little Joe’s had sold over 630 digital converter boxes. People with questions or concerns can contact Little Joe’s or visit www.dtv2009.gov, the FCC’s official Web site regarding the digital transition.

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