Rite Aid to stock digital TV converters for government mandated transition

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid announced Tuesday it would stock digital TV converter boxes in all Rite Aid stores through March 2009 to help customers with the transition to digital format television.

When plugged into an analog TV, the digital converter boxes will enable the TV to continue to work after the government-mandated transition takes place Feb. 17. Three different brands of digital converter boxes will be available at Rite Aid, ranging in price from $59.99-$69.99. Selections may vary by store.

“At Rite Aid our goal is to provide our customers with the products and services they need to make their lives easier,” stated Bryan Shirtliff, Rite Aid senior vice president, category management. “Customers can purchase a digital converter box at any of our stores and immediately begin enjoying the benefits of digital broadcasting, avoiding not only the last-minute scramble to do so next year but any disruption to their viewing habits once the switch takes place next year.”

Beginning at midnight on Feb. 17, all television broadcast signals in the United States will change to a 100 percent digital format as mandated by the federal government. Analog television sets receiving free TV using an antenna will not work after this date. Viewers who are not connected to a cable or satellite service must either purchase a digital converter box to use with their current TV; connect their analog TV to a cable, satellite or other pay service; or purchase a TV with a digital tuner.

The U.S. government is providing up to two $40 coupons per household to offset the cost of the digital converter boxes, through March 31, while supplies last. Each coupon can be applied to the purchase of one digital converter box. These coupons are issued to qualified consumers through applications submitted directly to the government. The coupons must be redeemed within 90 days of receiving them. To apply for the coupons, consumers can visit www.dtv2009.gov or call 1-888-DTV-2009. The coupons can be redeemed at all Rite Aid stores.

An estimated 30 million households and as many as 90 million television sets will be affected by this change. The switch to digital will free up airways for other use.

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