Elected Officials Toolkit

How can I help others get ready for DTV?

While the benefits of digital television (DTV) are extraordinary, some of your friends and family may need help taking the steps to upgrade their TV sets. With the nationwide transition to DTV quickly approaching, now is the time to reach out to your neighbors and make sure they don’t lose their free, over-the-air television reception after June 12, 2009.

Your neighbors may need assistance in learning about or obtaining coupons from the federal government’s converter box coupon program, or in selecting and installing a converter box. Here are some of the ways you can help them navigate the switch to digital:

  • Help Someone Obtain a Coupon. The government’s coupon program will accept any coupon that is valid and has not expired — regardless of who ordered it. Under program rules, a neighbor (or a friend, relative and so on) may use a $40 coupon that you ordered and received from the government. So, if your household is eligible for coupons but won’t need them, you can give your unused coupons to a neighbor, or order coupons now and give one or both to a neighbor to use. (Please note that it is illegal to sell or exchange coupons for an item of value other than a converter box.)
  • Help Someone Use a Coupon to Obtain a Converter Box. Converter boxes, which cost between $40 and $70, can be purchased through government-certified retailers in stores, by telephone or online. Every brick-and-mortar, online and telephone retailer participating in the coupon program will accept any coupons that are valid and unexpired, regardless of who ordered the coupons from the government. Boxes are available at thousands of national and local retailers across the country. Some people have driven elderly relatives to the store and helped them buy a converter box. Others have used a coupon to buy a converter box and then donated it to a relative, friend or local senior center, church group or community organization that serves our needy neighbors.
  • Help Someone Connect a Converter Box. Most converter boxes are easy to install, but connecting them can be challenging, especially for seniors and people with disabilities. As such, this is another important way we can help our neighbors. There are multiple online resources available explaining how to connect a converter box to an existing TV set that you can download. The DTV Transition Coalition has produced a Connections Guide that you can download, print and give to a friend, available at:

Retailer Best Buy has an installation video available for download at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine’s DTV Transition 101, “Hooking up a DTV Converter Box,” video can be viewed at:

Community groups are working alongside broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and other organizations to encourage people to help a neighbor make the switch to digital TV. If all of your TVs are connected to cable or satellite or have built-in digital tuners, you’re all set for the DTV transition. But consider those less fortunate, those in need and those less technically savvy than yourself. We can all take pride in helping others get ready for June 12, 2009. For more information about the DTV transition, visit

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Resource Menu

Do I need a new antenna?
Helpful tips about antennas and DTV

How do I get a converter box coupon?
Learn how to apply

How do I hook up a converter box?
Get tips on installing your box

Why is rescanning so important?
Learn why you must rescan regularly

How can people with disabilities prepare?
Helpful resources for these viewers

What is low-power television?
Find LPTV stations in your area

How does DTV affect emergency broadcasting?
Stay connected during emergencies

How can I recycle my old TV?
Find recycling resources near you

How can I help others get ready for DTV?
Tips on how you can help a neighbor

Resources for Presentations
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