Buy the wrong DTV converter box now; exchange it later, advises CBA

June 5, 2008

The Community Broadcasters Association (CBA) reluctantly has begun advising its Class A and LPTV station members to inform viewers that they should redeem their DTV converter box coupons before they expire for boxes without analog pass-through and keep converters in unopened, pristine condition for exchange in the future.

For months, the association has worked to change how the converter box program is being carried out. Specifically, it has objected to the lack of a requirement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for inclusion of an analog tuner in coupon-qualified DTV converter boxes. Without the tuner, CBA has contended, viewers will have an extremely difficult time tuning in its member stations’ signals. While the CBA has sought relief from the commission and the judiciary, it has lost at every turn.

Those facts coupled with what the association describes as “an inadequate supply of DTV converter boxes with analog pass through” propelled the association to issue the viewer advisory to buy any DTV box they can find before coupon expiration.

The CBA is advising viewers who use their coupons to purchase a converter without analog pass-through to:

  • save the receipt;
  • set the unopened DTV converter box aside; and
  • • return it to the retailer in exchange for a converter with analog pass-through box when such boxes become available.

According to CBA vice president of technology Greg Herman, the association had “no choice but to recommend that viewers validate their coupons before they expire, even if doing so means they are forced to purchase the wrong box.”

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