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HDTV coupons worth $40

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Even if you have cable, you may need an HDTV converter box. Even if you have cable, you may need an HDTV converter box.

By Amanda Taylor, NEWS 9

The government's giving away millions of dollars in coupons. You may need one to help ensure your television works next year.

Starting Feb. 17, 2009, everyone who uses an antenna will no longer get a picture. That's when all TV stations will begin broadcasting in digital, which requires a converter box, to receive a signal. And all of you who have cable or satellite we suggest you get one, too.

"If you're one of those people like from the ice storm recently whose cable went out for a while, you used to be able to stick an antenna on the roof or put up rabbit ears," said Joel Craig, NEWS 9 technical contributor. "But once the conversion takes place that's not going to work."

A converter box will cost between $50 and $70. The government is willing to pick up most of the cost. They're handing out $40 coupons to help you buy a converter box.

So here's how you get a coupon.

www.dtv2009.gov

1-888-DVT-2009

They asked for my name and address and that's it. I have one coupon coming my way, and each household can get two coupons. We suggest requesting one now.

The programs have been taking requests for about a week and already more than 2 million people have signed up.

But just know when you get your coupon it expires in 90 days.

Converter boxes aren't in stores yet, they'll probably be out late Febuary to early March and that's when the coupons will start getting mailed out.

Retailers including Best Buy, Sears, Target and Wal-Mart will carry the converter boxes.

If you have a problem, call the Consumer Watch hot line at 841-9921.

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