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Senate passes resolution to promote digital television transition awareness in U.S.

Last Friday, the United States Senate passed a resolution designating August 2008 as Digital Television Transition Awareness Month

Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota co-sponsored the resolution, which garnered broad bi-partisan support.

Hatch and Klobuchar explained that the resolution will help television viewers across the nation prepare for the transition from an analog to a digital signal.

The change is set to take place Feb. 17, 2009, confirmed the U.S. senators.

Consumers who are unprepared will be left without television service following the transition.

The resolution encourages local non-profit organizations to:

•Help consumers receive government coupons and converter boxes for the transition.

•Educate consumers about Internet websites and other sources of information regarding the transition to digital television.

Several government officials and trade organizations are planning events to raise awareness between now and the end of the year.

"This resolution will help clear up misconceptions about the D-TV transition," said Hatch. "This resolution will help encourage those who need to take action to do so now instead of waiting until the last minute."

Studies indicate that many consumers do not know about the transition to digital television, indicated Hatch and Klobuchar.

Of the consumers who are aware of the transition, many have misconceptions about the impact of the transition on their television services, noted the senators.

The most vulnerable consumers include senior citizens, low-income and minority households.

Regionally, television markets in the West and Mid-West have the highest percentage of consumers who rely on over-the-air television signals.

The transition will not impact households with digitally equipped televisions hooked up to cable or satellite service.

But people with analog TVs will need to purchase a digital converter box or subscribe to cable or satellite or buy a new television with digital capabilities, continued the senators.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is running a coupon program, pointed out the senators.

The program enables consumers at locations across the nation to apply for a coupon they can use toward the purchase of a converter box.

There are also many websites with comprehensive information about the switch and the coupon program

For more information or to request a coupon, Carbon County residents may go online at http://www.dtv2009.gov/.

Local residents may also call the federal program toll-free at 1-888-DTV-2009.




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