Gutierrez: Don’t Forget to Redeem Converter-Box Coupons
Secretary of Commerce Reminds TV Viewers to Use $40 DTV-to-Analog Converter-Box Coupons from National Telecommunications and Information Administration
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/23/2008 12:10:00 PM
The Secretary of Commerce is urging TV viewers who have received their $40 coupons toward the purchase of digital-TV-to-analog converter boxes to redeem the coupons.
“The first coupons mailed are set to expire at the end of May," Carlos Gutierrez said in a statement Wednesday, "and I encourage all Americans who have ordered a coupon to purchase your eligible converter box within the 90-day required time frame.”
Some in Congress have pushed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to extend the expiration date or allow viewers to reapply if they expire, especially since some of the lowest-cost boxes won’t be on the shelves until June or July.
Acting NTIA chief Meredith Attwell Baker said she would look into the logistics of how that might be done, but "changing the expiration will require congressional action," NTIA spokesman Todd Sedmak added, "because that is in the law."
Gutierrez's advice came on the 300th day until the Feb. 17, 2009, date for the end of full-power analog broadcasting.
Eric: Yes you are right. Tax deduction is a bad idea. But someone made a killing here, and it wasn't Joe Taxpayer. These boxes should be selling for no more than the coupon price, and most places have them at $60. So it's another crop subsidy-type appropriation and someone in the industry is enjoying a real price gouge. Someone in the biz tell me: What's the wholesale on these boxes? Probably $25 tops. The cost of manufacture would be an even more interesting figure. This one should get the Golden Fleece award for sure.
Adam Smith - 4/24/2008 10:44:00 PM EDT
I agree with you on all points but one. The tax deduction. A lot of people, don't pay taxes. Especially the poor and elderly who earn just enough from their saving to get by as well as those on welfare. Those people are the ones not likely to have cable.
But other than that you are correct. I am holding my coupon till the last minute so I can hopefully find a box for $40.00 so I'll pay nothing. Also there is no reason to have the coupons expire.
The DTV transition is a lesson on how NOT to do something. Everything was done, then the flaws were exposed.
They should've made the DTV transition the day BEFORE the presidental election. You can darn well bet every congressman, including Sentators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (whichever loses they both will still be in the Senate) would make sure that everyone had access to TV before they cast their vote.
Eric Smith - 4/24/2008 1:52:00 PM EDT
It's not govt.'s role to inject itself into daily commerce, and this coupon program appears to validate that truth. These boxes would be selling for $25 if the govt. didn't spend billions to subsidize their makers and markers and thus drive up the retail price above the coupon amt. Consumer electronics products tend to get cheaper, but not if a govt. subsidy keeps the retail price high. Now viewers who requested coupons early are penalized by having to settle f first generation boxes, which don't pass thru analog, lack basic features such as on-box channel selectors, etc. When the better boxes come out, the early adapters are left with an inferior product.
The govt. could have offered a tax deduction; instead it doled out a few billion in cash coupons, keeping prices high and innovation low. What happened to conservative principles?
Adam Smith - 4/23/2008 4:50:00 PM EDT
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