Key digital-TV-transition leaders are gathering at a Washington, D.C., Best Buy store Feb. 7 as part of the kickoff of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's DTV-to-analog converter-box-coupon program.
The NTIA has already begun accepting applications for the coupons -- worth $40 toward the purchase of a converter -- but it plans to start processing the coupons Feb. 17, one year out from the Feb. 17, 2009, cutoff date for full-power analog broadcasts.
On hand for the event -- which will include a discussion and converter-box demonstration -- will be Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez (the NTIA is under Commerce), Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO David K. Rehr, National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow, Consumer Electronics Association vice president Jason Oxman and Best Buy senior VP Michael Vitelli.
Best Buy has pledged to have converter boxes in all of its stores by Feb. 17.
According to an NTIA source, it planned the event for next week, but a DTV-status-report hearing on Capitol Hill caused a conflict and prompted it to move up the date.