Digital TV take over
March 18, 2008, 6:29 pm
Filed under: Coupons, Frugality, Technology

By now, the vast majority of you have probably already heard about the nationwide transition to digital TV slated for February of 2009.

This is a bummer for Jake and me because, like many frugal (and plain broke) folks, we have an older TV that does not have the technology required to receive the digital signals. We also do not subscribe to cable (yes, we wear our rabbit ears loud and proud!). The combination of these two things leaves us with three options: subscribe to cable, buy a new TV, or buy a converter box so that our present TV can receive the digital signals.

Well, I’ll give you a wild guess as to which one we’re going to do. If you reckon that we’re going for the converter box, you’re correct! We have absolutely no money to buy a new TV, especially when our current TV is working just fine, and we don’t watch (nor do I want to start watching) enough television to make cable even remotely worth it. Plus, I heard that the converter box offers more channels than rabbit ears can pick up. I would much rather buy the box and spend money once to get more channels than pay monthly for the most basic of cable packages that probably offers the same channels as the converter box.

Luckily, the government has set up a program after my own heart: a coupon offer. All the details can be found at dtv2009.gov, the official converter box coupon program website. You can apply for up to two $40 coupons (we only applied for one since we only have one TV). The boxes are expected to cost between $50 and $70, so after the coupon it should only be $10 to $30 for a box. The coupons expire 90 days after they’re mailed out, so make sure you’re ready to buy a box when you apply for the coupon.

I’m planning on using a Best Buy gift card to cover the cost of the box after the coupon is deducted, so it shouldn’t require any out of pocket money for us. Hunt around and see if you have any remaining balances on electronic store gift cards to help cover the remaining cost of a converter box if you’re planning on getting one too.

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