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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I’m a Cadillac-Driving Welfare Queen

posted by on March 26 at 11:05 AM

You probably already knew about this:

At midnight on February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting.

This of course means that the old-fashioned television sets aren’t going to work anymore for picking up non-cable broadcast TV. But did you know that, as of January, the government has been doling out up to 80 dollars for anyone who asks, so that they can buy TV Converter Boxes for their analog TV sets? It’s true!

Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep using their analog TV sets after February 17, 2009. The Program allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes.

I don’t have any television reception anyway, but I figured that if the government was handing out coupons for free, I was going to get in on that action. I applied for my coupons here, and I just got them in them mail on Saturday. I guess I’m going to go get one of the damned converter boxes, now that I have the coupons, but I’m not excited about that. I was incredibly excited about getting coupons from the government in the mail; I recommend it highly.

RSS icon Comments


Of course, they couldn't just issue one coupon worth $80. Must use double the resources necessary for the job! Good going, government.

Posted by Emily | March 26, 2008 11:12 AM

Welfare queens cheat the system to get things they want and will use. Consuming things you don't need just so you can toss them in landfill someday is more of a middle class suburban thing.

Posted by elenchos | March 26, 2008 11:14 AM

sooo....that website doesn't confirm that your oder was received? WTF? Even SLOG does that.

Posted by heywhatsit | March 26, 2008 11:18 AM

I'm still a little confused. Will I still be able to live without cable when this big change happens? If I get a converter box will it pull digital signals out of the air? This is all so strange.

It's really kind of shocking how little coverage this has gotten; you know there are going to be millions of people flipping out in January with no TV.

Posted by Levi | March 26, 2008 11:32 AM

I predict mayhem on February 17. I also predict that a panicked government will restore analog broadcasts for ANOTHER year, and have to pay the stations many billions for their trouble. Half of the set-top boxes won't work, or the people trying to connect them won't be able to figure it out. People like my mom will just give up watching TV all together -- and they're about the only ones left watching network broadcast TV anyways.

Posted by Fnarf | March 26, 2008 11:34 AM

Word! Good looking out.

Posted by Carollani | March 26, 2008 11:36 AM

OK, I answered my own question: It should indeed do the trick, so all one will need is a set top box and tv, no cable. Hopefully it will work.

Posted by Levi | March 26, 2008 11:42 AM

Was the fascinating phrase generated by the security check in an appropriately ominous font.

Posted by inkweary | March 26, 2008 11:43 AM

I got my coupon in the mail a few weeks ago. Allegedly there are a ton of different converters for a ton of different TV formats. Are these things not universal, or can I just blow my $40 wad on one comfortable with the knowledge it will work with either of my old TVs?

Posted by Gomez | March 26, 2008 11:44 AM

@3: I just placed an order. I got a confirmation screen. They even filled in correctly the last four digits of my 9-digit zipcode.

Try again, I guess.

Posted by Brendan | March 26, 2008 11:45 AM

I recently bought a new tv that happened to be digital. The best thing about it is the in-between channels. For instance, KCTS has like four channels, 9-1,9-2 and so on. They all have different programming and one is in Spanish.

7-2 used to be a steady, silent, live shot of the Space Needle from Queen Anne hill 24/7. I think they recently changed it to cheesey re-runs though.

Posted by I can haz digtul? | March 26, 2008 11:48 AM

Gomez is a case in point. I'm not slamming you, Gomez, just pointing out that if you're confused, a LOT of people are going to be completely dumbfuddled. Places that sell these converters are going to be overwhelmed with questions and returns. If history is any judge, half the boxes will have something wrong with them, creating an Everest of new e-waste. Numerous government spokespersons will appear delivering incomprehensible and conflicting assurances.

Note that this is going to take place in the first month of the new Obama administration.

Posted by Fnarf | March 26, 2008 11:51 AM

When did you apply? I applied in Jan. I think, still haven't seen mah koopawns!

Posted by seattle98104 | March 26, 2008 12:02 PM

Would it be ethical to use my coupons to get a free box, then sell it to someone who doesn't have online access and thus doesn't know about the coupons?

Posted by Fnarf | March 26, 2008 12:11 PM

@14: No.

Posted by Aislinn | March 26, 2008 12:21 PM

@13: I applied in January, also. Any day now!

@14: Not ethical, but great.

Posted by Paul Constant | March 26, 2008 12:27 PM

12. Not taken personal at all, Fnarf. That's in fact an excellent point. I'm no tech-head, but I'm savvy enough, and if I can't make sense of the process, what happens with the others who aren't as savvy when the crunch happens? It's gonna be a mess. Maybe it'll encourage a few people to ditch the TV and go outside... but there are better and less inflammatory ways to create proactivity.

Also, my card says to use it by 4/6, so whoever gets these... if you're going to use them, use them quick.

Posted by Gomez | March 26, 2008 12:28 PM

@15: if I do it anyways, and go to hell, will I like it there?

Posted by Fnarf | March 26, 2008 12:44 PM

@18 - Would you enjoy an eternity with Will?

Posted by mf | March 26, 2008 1:10 PM

You know you paid for that, right?

Y2K09Feb something...

Posted by john | March 26, 2008 1:19 PM

No, but I already applied for your coupon already @18, and gave it to Mr. Poe.

He said he needed something to wipe up with ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 26, 2008 1:33 PM

Wow, that's a good one!

Posted by Fnarf | March 26, 2008 1:45 PM

@13 - same thing happened to me. Hope they're not expired by the time I finally get them.

@14 - my understanding is that the converter actually costs close to $70, so the coupon doesn't even cover the total cost of switching over (yet another reason why this whole proposal stinks to high heaven)

Posted by Mr. X | March 26, 2008 2:18 PM

people let furnished houses, and get a rent, not only for the use of the >free scrapbooking layouts for photoshop that sum, it is probable, in the worn and degraded gold coin, seldom containing more than an fvwrjutois

Posted by Katherine | March 30, 2008 3:08 AM

people let furnished houses, and get a rent, not only for the use of the >free scrapbooking layouts for photoshop that sum, it is probable, in the worn and degraded gold coin, seldom containing more than an fvwrjutois

Posted by Katherine | March 30, 2008 3:08 AM

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