Government offering $40 coupons for digital-to-analog converter boxes

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- This holiday season may be coming to an end. But the commerce department is just starting to give out gifts to help Americans upgrade to digital television.

Each U.S. household is eligible for up to two $40 coupons for digital-to-analog converter boxes.

All U.S. broadcast TV stations are scheduled to convert to digital signals by February 17, 2009. But people who use analog televisions to get over-the-air broadcasts won't be able to see those digital signals -- unless they use a converter box.

You can call 1-888-388-2009 to get coupons.

Or you can apply at the government website

If you have a digital TV and you get your broadcasts over the air, you're all set for the change already.

And whether you have an analog or a digital TV, if you get your programming from cable or satellite, you need to contact your provider to find out what adjustments, if any, you need to make.

Here's why the government is mandating the change. It will auction off the analog airspace currently filled with broadcast signals to wireless broadband companies.

Also, emergency services like firefighters and police will take advantage of the open airwaves.