December 12, 2008
Contact: Laurie Petrie, Communications Director, 513-345-3393
Many seniors facing difficulties with digital TV conversion
As the deadline nears for the Feb. 17 conversion to digital TV, it’s clear that many vulnerable
and low-income seniors are going to need extra help. Some efforts are underway, but resources
are stretched thin and efforts may not go far enough.
At 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 17, broadcasters nationwide will “soft test” the digital transmission system
for five minutes. “Whoever is watching at that time on a ‘rabbit ears’ TV will find out that they’re
not ready,” said Scott Radcliffe of the Federal Communications Commission.
Radcliffe is in Southwestern Ohio working on outreach for the TV conversion.
A Nielson survey in Feb. 2007, estimated that 20-25 percent of the households in the
southwestern Ohio counties of Hamilton, Clermont and Clinton had broadcast-only television
reception. This is a higher percentage than most other Ohio counties. (Households with paid TV
service such as via cable or satellite will not be affected by the digital conversion.)
Problems for vulnerable seniors include:
• Lack of awareness about the conversion or understanding of whether they need a
converter box or not.
Inability to get through on the busy toll free telephone line to get a converter box coupon.
(1-888-388-2009) Applications are also available online at www.DTV2009.gov, , but
many seniors, especially those with low incomes, do not have computers or are unable
to navigate the Web.
(People should know that they can also apply by mail to PO Box 2000, Portland, OR
Inability to afford a converter box, even with the help of a coupon.
• Expired coupons (coupons expire after 90 days and you can’t re-apply).
• No transportation to a store where a converter box can be purchased.
Inability to connect the converter box to their analog TV, carry out the installation
instructions or test the operation.
• Very old televi