Countdown to the Big Switch - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/17/08

Countdown to the Big Switch

If you watch NewsChannel 11 on a TV with rabbit ears here's something you can't afford to miss. In exactly one year from now, television as we know it, is going digital.

KCBD General Manager Dan Jackson says, "Little is being done by the government, or the television industry to educate viewers about the change," and that's why NewsChannel 11 is launching "The Big Switch."

It's a multi-media campaign designed to help you understand the switch from analog to digital television.

Beginning Monday on NewsChannel 11, commercials will explain what you can expect in the digital world. 

But in the meantime, we answer one of the most asked questions. Do I have to buy a new TV if I have an old set?

The answer is no, but Meredith Baker with the U.S. Department of Commerce says you will have to purchase a converter box, "This converter box is going to be necessary for anyone who doesn't have cable or satellite or a new digital television. The converter box is going to allow people to continue to see broadcasting after February 17, 2009."

So you have exactly one year from Sunday to purchase that box. And to help consumers go digital - the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is sending out coupons to help buy the converter, "Congress has given us a program where we're going provide each household in America two $40 coupons towards the purchase of a converter box."

The converter is expected to cost about $75, but you do need to research which converter box model will work best for your TV. Consumers should get their coupon in the next few weeks, but it expires 90-days after it was sent. Two coupons are available to each household.

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