Homeschool for Free using Your TV:
Navigating the Digital TV Transition


Although many homeschoolers watch little or no television, if you want to homeschool for free, publicly televised programs provide a no-cost way for you to enrich your child's education.

As with anything, if used in moderation the television can provide an interesting and informative way for you to add some fun to your child's lessons.

However, beginning February 17, 2009, U.S. television stations will stop broadcasting in analog and will begin broadcasting only in digital.

What does this mean for you?

If you currently watch TV on an analog set that is not connected to cable, satellite or other pay service, you will no longer receive a signal.

Why Digital TV?

According to the NTIA, digital television is a more efficient technology, which translates into benefits for television viewers and your community including:

  • Better picture and sound quality.
  • Most viewers will see improved clarity and color when watching their favorite news, sports or entertainment programming.
  • Additional channels/multicasting.
  • TV stations will be able to provide several channels of programming at once. For example, if you normally watch channel two, it will still be available to you. But you may also get channel 2-1 that broadcasts local weather throughout the day or channel 2-2 that provides your favorite programs at a different time of day. These channels will be available at no additional cost.
  • Additional services.
  • Additional data services, such as enhanced closed-captioning, that are not possible in analog will now be available.
  • Improved emergency communications.
  • With the change from analog to digital, portions of the analog TV airwaves will be made available to local emergency responders. This means improved emergency communications capacity and safer communities.

Navigating the Digital TV Transition

If you would like to continue to use your tv to enjoy your favorite shows, and educational programs, your options include purchasing a converter box that will plug in to an existing analog TV set; connecting your TV to cable, satellite or other pay service; or buying a TV with a digital tuner.

Continue to Homeschool for Free

To assist U.S. households who choose to buy a converter box, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is implementing the TV Converter Box Coupon Program.

Your family can request up to two, $40 coupons to help pay for the cost of certified TV converter boxes. The converter box will convert the digital signal into an analog signal, so you do not have to purchase a digital TV or pay-to-watch service.

APPLY TODAY for your coupon (or before the end of the year), and continue to homeschool for free using your analog TV!

TV Converter Box Coupon Program

To keep your analog TV working, follow these 3 steps, which may take at least 6 weeks:

Step One:
Apply TODAY for your coupon, which will help you purchase a government certified converter box. Coupons are available on a first come, first served basis. Download your application here, or go to www.DTV2009.gov and apply online (fastest option).

Step Two:
Buy your coupon-eligible converter box. COUPONS EXPIRE 90 days after they are mailed. Expired coupons cannot be reissued or replaced, so don't wait too long to use it. A list of retailers will come in the envelope with your coupons.

Step Three:
Try your converter box as soon as you get it home. Hook-up your converter box to start watching digital television or to troubleshoot potential problems.

For general information about the DTV transition, visit www.DTV.gov or call 1-888-CALL-FCC (voice) or 1-888-TELL-FCC (TTY).





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