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Texas leads in converter box coupons

Texas leads the nation in the number of set-top converter box coupons ordered from a government program launched Jan. 1.

The boxes will convert digital TV signals to analog signals. 

The program is designed to ensure that over-the-air television viewers with analog sets can continue receiving signals after the digital conversion on Feb. 19, 2009, without purchasing a new digital TV.

As of Jan. 17, 243,831 coupons had been ordered by Texans from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the federal agency charged with administering the billion-dollar program.

An estimated 21 percent, or 1,715,980, of Texas households receive their television signals exclusively over-the-air. 

Each coupon will offset $40 of the cost of one set-top converter box. The boxes will have a one-time cost of about $70.

  • Households are limited to two coupons each.
  • The coupons may not be combined to cover the entire cost of a single box.
  • Coupons will be distributed once a retailer within five miles of a viewer's residence has the boxes in stock.
  • The coupons expire after 90 days and cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.

Viewers can apply for the coupons online at or by calling toll-free 1-888-388-2009 (TTY: 1-877-530-2634).

The set-top converter boxes will not provide a high-definition picture.

The DTV transition will allow consumers to receive clearer pictures and sound and more free channels of programming over-the-air from local stations.

All new TV sets sold in the United States are required to have digital tuners, but not all digital TV sets are equipped to display high-definition pictures.

True high-definition pictures are available free, over-the-air from local TV stations. 

Viewers do not need cable or satellite subscriptions to receive high-definition programming.

Visit for more information on the DTV transition.

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