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Published:January 6th, 2009 15:46 EST
Conversion To Digital TV

Conversion To Digital TV Hits A Snag

By Robert Paul Reyes

"The government`s billion-dollar program to help people prepare for the transition to digital television has run out of money, potentially leaving millions of viewers without coupons to buy converter boxes they need to keep their analog TV sets working after the switch.

As of this past Sunday, consumers who request a $40 coupon to help offset the cost of a converter box are being placed on a waiting list. They may not receive the coupons before Feb. 17, when full-power television stations will shut off traditional analog broadcasts and transmit only digital signals.

Members of Congress are now scrambling to find ways to allocate more money to the program."

We all know a friend or a relative who still has a huge console TV with rabbit ears, and not all of these folks are poor -- some of them are just too stubborn to join the digital age. If you ask them why they don`t get cable or satellite service, they will respond: Who needs more than 10 TV channels?

It`s not only your crazy aunt or your hermit uncle who isn`t hooked up to cable, there are 70 million TV sets that receive only over-the-air broadcasts. These sobering statistics make me feel like I`m living in a Third World country.

On Feb 17 these Luddites will get only static on their TV sets, if they haven`t bought a converter box. These jokers have had plenty of time to buy a converter box that costs only around $40 with the coupon. I don`t feel any sympathy for them if on Feb 17 their picture will degenerate into static while they are watching The Lawrence Welk Show or I Love Lucy.

If our government is almost broke why is it spending over a billion dollars to subsidize the purchase of converter boxes for stubborn old goats? My neighbor is one of these Neanderthals and his house is much bigger than mine, why should I help pay for his converter box?

I bought a laptop a few weeks ago and I need to purchase a router to have a wireless connection. How about a billion-dollar program to help people prepare for the transition to wireless service? Where`s my dang coupon?

Member of Congress shouldn`t be scrambling to find ways to allocate more funds to this ridiculous program, they should be scrambling to find a way to restart our struggling economy.