A Box With a Catch
August 8, 2008 4:46 PM
According to the Leichtman Research Group, there are 70 million televisions in the U.S. that depend on an antenna for TV programming. That is about 34% of all televisions in the country, and about half of them are not ready for the conversion to digital broadcasting.
There is a warning being issued by the Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, New York Better Business Bureau (BBB) that warns of a scam being advertised around the country. I personally have seen this ad in one of the largest newspapers here in the state of Texas.
The name of the company is Universal TechTronics, although it may well go by many other names. They offer a product called the "Miracle Clearveiw TV" converter box for free to the public. They advertise that the Miracle Clearveiw TV "receives channels for free" and that there is "no need to pay for cable" to get the new digital picture quality and sound. They claim that the public is to get "free TV without government coupon!"
The catch is they require the purchase of a 5 year warranty for $59 to get the "free" converter box. With the shipping and handling fees, the total cost approaches $100.
The BBB believes that the same or similar converter boxes can be purchased with the government coupon for about $20.
Make no mistake, that although they allude to the idea that the public can receive digital cable with the box, the box is for digital over the air broadcasts only.
If you have not already done so, I encourage everyone to go ahead and order your coupons and research the available converter boxes at the www.dtv2009.gov Web site.
And remember, if you get any of your programming from a low power television station, try to obtain a converter box that allows pass through of the analog signal. Please support your local independent low-power television broadcasters, for they are going to have a rough time of it after the conversion to digital.