Congressmen Want To Take Stock Of Converter Boxes [Multichannel News]
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives providing oversight to the federal government's DTV converter box coupon program are concerned that the demand for converter boxes prior to the June 12th DTV deadline may outstrip the supply available from manufacturers. To that end, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Communications, Technology and Internet Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher have sent a letter to manufacturers and retailers of the converter boxes seeking information about how many boxes they currently have available, the maximum number of boxes that could be made available to customers and other questions. The chairmen are attempting to determine whether there will be enough boxes for customers who wait to the last minute to prepare for the digital transition.
Gary Shapiro, who testified on behalf of the Consumer Electronics Association in an earlier oversight hearing on DTV, estimated that 4.2 million converter boxes would be needed before June 12th. Chairman Boucher believes that the number of boxes needed could be as high as 5.5 million, basing his estimate on the number of active DTV coupons. The letter seeks to determine whether manufacturers and retailers are prepared to meet that additional estimated need for converter boxes.
Rather than relying on the government to determine whether or not there are enough coupons or converter boxes, consumers can prepare for the digital transition simply by giving their local cable provider a call. All televisions connected to cable are ready for the transition, regardless of the availability of DTV coupons or converter boxes.