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Coupons for TV converters

March 13, 2007|From Bloomberg News

The U.S. government will offer households as much as $80 each to convert televisions to receive digital broadcasts under a $1.5-billion program.

Households with one or more TV sets can ask for as many as two $40 coupons as long as the first $990 million lasts, the Commerce Department said Monday. An additional $510 million in coupons may be offered if the initial amount is insufficient.

The subsidies are designed to help consumers prepare for the end of analog TV broadcasts in February 2009. After that, TVs without digital receivers will not be able to show over-the-air broadcasts. Sets connected to cable TV and satellite systems will not need converters, the Commerce Department said.

Converters are expected to cost about $50 each. Households can apply for the coupons starting Jan. 1, the Commerce Department said. Retailers that want to participate in the program must apply for certification by March 31, 2008.

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