The FCC has ordered all local over-the-air broadcasts be digital by February 17, 2009. Taking advantage of this, scammers are putting up ads and commercials claiming to offer free digital converter boxes. The FTC should shut down these misleading ads. One ad says:
The United States Deptartment of Commerce is preparing everyone for the switch to digital television by authorizing payment coupons for certified brands of these special TV boxes.
But the government process has us all tied up.
That’s why Universal TechTronics is providing these Miracle ClearView TV boxes immediately to the general public for free for everyone who gets the 5yr. warranty.
There are two problems with this. First, the device is only “free” if you don’t consider the mandatory warranty and shipping of $100.
But the main reason this is bogus is that most Americans don’t need to do anything. If you have satellite or cable TV, you are not affected. And if you are one of the rare Americans that uses a rabbit-ear antenna for over-the-air broadcasts, your TV could have a digital tuner built-in if it was purchased recently.
If you do need a digital converter box, it should cost about $60. You can get a $40 coupon from the federal government that lowers your cost to around $20.
For more on the Digital TV Transition, see the FCC site: