Mandatory Digital Conversion

Head for the home entertainment section of R-C-Willey and you can't miss the television sets.
But what they don't have here are analogue televisions. They stop selling more than a year ago, when it became apparent digital was definitely the wave of the future.

John McGhee the Electronics Sales Manager says many customers already know a little about the digital conversion. "The majority of customers that come in here know enough to know that they have to be looking at the future. The future is digital. The mandatory drop dead date is in March of 2009 that all tuners must be digital."

The move is not only technology and economically driven...there's also a government mandate. By February 2009, all television stations must broadcast in digital...which means if you get your analogue television over the air with the help of rabbit ears you won't be able to receive the signal. Not to worry, the government has also committed one-point five-billion dollars so households can buy converter boxes.

Lawson Fox from the Nevada Broadcasters Association says the financial hit to consumers could be minimal. "The government is going to offer to households that apply for them, up to two coupons per household, they are worth about $40 a piece and the boxes are expected to costs about $60 a piece. So for $20 you can take a television and make it so you can receive a digital signal off the air for free. You get the box hooks up just like your vcr or dvd, very simple take your antenna hook it to the box, take the box hook it to the t-v, and start watching t.v."

Those converter boxes aren't available yet, and if you haven't heard a lot about the digital conversion, you will, The National Association of Broadcasters says local television stations nationwide will be investing tens of millions of dollars beginning early next year to tell viewers about the conversion.