The digital TV transition is fast approaching

    On June 12, the transition to digital television will be complete. I’m encouraging everyone who has not yet taken the needed steps to do so now.

    Households that are already hooked up to cable, satellite or another form of pay television service do not need to do anything. These households will not see their service affected at all.

    However, households that use “rabbit ears” or a rooftop antenna to receive their television reception will be affected by the transition to digital television, unless they purchase a converter box.

    Government coupons to purchase the converter box are available upon request. The TV Converter Box Coupon Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, offers up to two coupons per household worth $40 each toward the purchase of eligible converter boxes. Coupons are available through July 31, or until supplies run out, so do not delay. Coupons are valid 90 days from the time they are mailed and converter boxes can be found at most major retail stores.  Legislation that Congress recently passed allows consumers whose coupons have expired to request replacement coupons. Individuals may apply for a coupon or a replacement coupon online at or by calling 1-888-DTV2009 (1-888-388-2009). Deaf or hard of hearing callers may dial 1-877-530-2634 (TTY).

    Households that have already received their coupon(s) should purchase their converter boxes now so that they can hook them up prior to the transition. Installing a converter box is simple, but you should allow yourself time to iron out any kinks, including antenna adjustments and running a “channel scan” both before and after June 12, 2009 to ensure you are receiving all available digital channels. 

    In addition to gaining a clearer picture, the DTV transition will also benefit the (citizens) by freeing up airwaves for use by first responders so they can better communicate during emergencies. 

    The June 12 national transition to digital television is almost here.  I urge all residents to take action now and also offer any needed assistance to friends and family members who may need additional help with the transition. For technical assistance, including names of local DTV assistance organizations, you can call 1-888-CALL-FCC or go to

    U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) represents Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District.

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