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NTIA Still Bombarded by Converter-Box Coupon Requests

Requests for digital-TV-to-analog converter-box coupons continued to pour in at the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.

At last count (2 p.m. Thursday), the total was 850,000 requests for more than 1.6 million coupons. Almost three-quarters of those requests were via the Internet (633,000), with almost all of the rest via phone.

The NTIA plans to unveil the coupons and provide an updated total Monday at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It will not begin mailing them out until Feb. 17, however -- exactly one year before the switch to digital TV and enough time for retailers to make sure that they have the boxes on the shelves.

The NTIA will send two coupons per household to any eligible household -- P.O. boxes do not qualify, for example -- until it has handed out 22.25 million. After that, households will have to prove that their TV service is over-the-air-only to qualify for the last 11.25 million.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.