Friday, May 02, 2008

Community spreads the digital television love

You might have heard that in February of 2009, television broadcasts convert from analog to digital. We have a high definition television that I have discovered I love. You might have heard me mention Sunrise Earth in HD. It's an experience!

But some folks in our city may not be aware of the changeover. They may not be aware that they'll need a converter for their existing tv. And they may not be aware that the government is offering assistance for purchasing these converters.

The following announcement from WOSU tells you how you can donate your converter coupon to someone who needs it (and why you should). So read this and go request your coupon. If you can get your coupon to me, I can trek on down to deliver the coupons to WOSU for you! If you live outside outside Columbus, find out if there is a similar program in your city.

Here's the info:
WOSU Public Media is offering a special opportunity to help your neighbor prepare for the digital conversion that arrives on February 17, 2009. In a nutshell, on that date the analog signal (or the over-the-air signal) will be replaced by a digital signal. Those folks still receiving television without the benefit of cable or satellite need to purchase a converter box that will translate the analog signal to a digital one.

We are asking the central Ohio community who has no need of the converter box coupons to go ahead and request those coupons from the NTIA. The NTIA has told us we can collect the unused coupons and then purchase converter boxes from local electronic companies that we will then distribute to the elderly and shut-in community through two social service agencies: the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (COAAA) and LifeCare Alliance (a nonprofit home care service that provides health care at home for senior citizens, disabled and the homebound). These agencies already go into the homes on a weekly basis, they have relationships with their clients, and so they are the best ones to do the installation (we are training them how to install the boxes). Our goal is to get these converter boxes into the hands of the most at-risk population who may not be able to secure the boxes themselves. WOSU staff will train the social workers of COAAA and LifeCare (who already go into the homes on a regular basis), and then those social workers will hook up the converter boxes for their clients.

Once you receive the coupons (and it takes about two months), you can drop them off at WOSU Public Media (2400 Olentangy River Road). It is important that we move quickly on this because it does take a while to get the coupons, and there is a finite amount of money the government has set aside for this. BTW, when you apply for a coupon at, you get an online form page, and you check under TV service that “All or some of the TVs in my house subscribe to one or more pay services….”

This project has received a warm reception throughout central Ohio, and it has also allowed us to get the digital conversion buzz going in the community. The sooner we come together as a community to secure these boxes for our elderly neighbors the better: we don’t want anyone left without television in February when so many depend upon it as a lifeline to the external world. People are responding to this
message very positively—and most people are thrilled to be able to help those in need

Visit WOSU for more information.

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