FCC Chairman Martin Concerned DTV Converter Box Money Could Run Out - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 04:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I heard about this on the radio this morning. Not sure if it's been mentioned elswhere in this forum.

"FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has told Capitol Hill he is concerned that the DTV-to-analog converter box coupon subsidy program could run out of money before it runs out of requests for the $40 coupons, suggesting the calculations of the government agency responsible for administering the program may be off.


In letters to House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) and Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) first reported by Multichannel News' Ted Hearn, Martin says he is "increasingly concerned about the funding of the program," which has $1.5 billion to work with."

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post #2 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 06:32 AM
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How hard is it to calculate $40 times the number of coupons to be issued? GEEZ!! I guess it's the never ending overhead.

Maybe if they would quite raiding the fund, for other purposes, it just might have all the funds it needs. Sounds like someone is lining their pockets and have realized that their purpose in life will be at an end early next year.
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post #3 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 08:43 AM
 
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I calculate 37 million coupons. That certainly should be enough to cover the 15% * 110 million television homes == 16 million OTA homes.

And since half of those coupons go unused, the NTIA should have plenty of money left-over to do a third round of coupon giveaways.
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post #4 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 10:11 AM
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NOTICE: Please Read Before Posting - Thank You
>>> NOTICE <<<<br />
The CECB forum of late has been turning into a referendum on the digital TV transition. In addition to unrelated comments in specific unit topics, topics have been started that have nothing to do with actually receiving Digital TV. These comments and topics include government shortsightedness, the necessity of the transition itself, the politics involved, and even relating it to just another money grab by the government like the $700 billion bail out. All of these comments have been taken directly from this CECB forum.

THIS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE! We also will not allow for chat on how to abuse the program itself.

Please remember this forum is for discussion of the digital-to-analog TV converter boxes that are eligible for the $40 subsidy coupons issued by the U.S. Government as part of the transition from analog to digital over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV. The official name for these devices is Coupon Eligible Converter Box (CECB).

I love the digital transition. The voices in my head just say 0 and 1 now.
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post #5 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 12:44 PM
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This was a tough number to estimate. I can see how Nielsen is not random in terms of returns, and it may bias their number in favor of cable viewers. They send you a booklet for every tv you have, but it is tempting not to include tvs you know you won't be watching that week. So I'm not sure Nielsen gets an accurate picture of how many OTA homes their are, and how many tvs per OTA home.

Another place underestimating can come in is in their allowing coupons to be given away. Even if they were right on the 2.1 tvs per home, the estimate is off by 50%, if everyone has a friend order them a coupon so they can have a box for their VCR, too.
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post #6 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post

And since half of those coupons go unused, the NTIA should have plenty of money left-over to do a third round of coupon giveaways.

That's what I was thinking...with all the unused ones how can the money run out. Unless they're doing like airlines and "overbooking" in a manner of speaking. TR is right as well, they should have allowed for at least 4 coupons per household, with an expiration date of May 2009 so people would have time to get what they wanted instead of what was available. If people ordered them and didnt use them, its no big deal as the money's still there. If people ordered them and use them then the estimate is right.

Delete the thread if you must, as its not about a specific box. However, no coupons = no DTV reception for intelligent consumers. Paying full price...or even the price after a coupon in some cases...is foolhardy at the very least.
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post #7 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by partsman_ba View Post

THIS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE! We also will not allow for chat on how to abuse the program itself.

Please remember this forum is for discussion of the digital-to-analog TV converter boxes that are eligible for the $40 subsidy coupons issued by the U.S. Government as part of the transition from analog to digital over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV. The official name for these devices is Coupon Eligible Converter Box (CECB).

Please, you have only 189 posts so I know you're not a moderator. Chairman Martin's statements about the coupons are certainly relevant to this thread! I've thought for awhile that the coupons might run out before February.
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post #8 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 04:54 PM
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No, I'm not a moderator. I cut-and-pasted that directly from the announcement at the top of the CECB page from Dave Bott, the AVSForum administrator. Read the rest of it - then think about what you are posting so you don't get in trouble.

I love the digital transition. The voices in my head just say 0 and 1 now.
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post #9 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by partsman_ba View Post

I cut-and-pasted that directly from the announcement at the top of the CECB page from Dave Bott, the AVSForum administrator. Read the rest of it - then think about what you are posting so you don't get in trouble.

Thank you for posting that. Dave Bott is certainly entitled to run these forums as he pleases but he said himself "Like it or not, the digital change over is coming. It WILL make for issues for some people. It WILL make some people unhappy. However it is coming." IMHO that makes threads such as the government shortsightedness one (although it did ramble too far) relevant. Maybe the CECB topic isn't the right one (which one is?) for that but anything the FCC Chairman says about these boxes and whether there will be enough funding for the CECB program certainly does belong here.
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post #10 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

How hard is it to calculate $40 times the number of coupons to be issued? GEEZ!! I guess it's the never ending overhead.



One of two things; either they grossly underestimated the number of people needing coupons, or there are too many people losing them or letting them expire and requesting additionals using addresses of neighbors or relatives.
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post #11 of 38 Old 10-09-2008, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by confuzzled View Post

One of two things; either they grossly underestimated the number of people needing coupons, or there are too many people losing them or letting them expire and requesting additionals using addresses of neighbors or relatives.

the first I agree with and think could be the actual problem. However, your second point...even if people are losing them and letting them expire, that shouldnt affect the money set aside for the coupons as they werent used.
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post #12 of 38 Old 10-10-2008, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by nwiser View Post

..even if people are losing them and letting them expire, that shouldnt affect the money set aside for the coupons as they werent used.

..but the overhead to process them was.
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post #13 of 38 Old 10-10-2008, 05:00 AM
 
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Correct. The NTIA counts that money as "used" even if the $40 eventually expires and comes back to their treasury. They don't recycle that money back to the coupon program, but just leave it lay there.

What I suspect will happen is that February will arrive, and the NTIA will see ~600 million dollars that was recorded as "used" but not actually spent. They will then ask Congress' permission to do a third round to use-up any money that's left over.
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post #14 of 38 Old 10-10-2008, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post

What I suspect will happen is that February will arrive, and the NTIA will see ~600 million dollars that was recorded as "used" but not actually spent. They will then ask Congress' permission to do a third round to use-up any money that's left over.

Things will probably be a lot clearer when the new Congress starts its session in January. Chairman Martin's warning is probably meant to tell Congress to be prepared to act then if necessary. It is my understanding the NTIA has enough money to issue 45 Million coupons but only enough to redeem 33.5 Million.
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post #15 of 38 Old 10-10-2008, 12:14 PM
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They want to relax the "only two to a household" thing, I'll take a couple more if there are extras.
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post #16 of 38 Old 10-10-2008, 01:09 PM
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There will probably be no reconsideration of the two to a household thing. Members of Congress should probably ask that households whose coupons have expired be allowed to reapply but there are no guarantees of that.
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post #17 of 38 Old 10-10-2008, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post

I calculate 37 million coupons. That certainly should be enough to cover the 15% * 110 million television homes == 16 million OTA homes.

And since half of those coupons go unused, the NTIA should have plenty of money left-over to do a third round of coupon giveaways.

Did you also calculate the number of cable/satalite subscribers that get two coupons, buy two boxes for $10 each and sell them for $40 each to non suspecting people that maybe wanted more that two or just don't know any better?
Oh yes I have seen people on craigs wanting to buy a box and people selling the CECBs' for $40-45ish.
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post #18 of 38 Old 10-10-2008, 09:00 PM
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The current number of expired converter box coupons is 9,198,553 (through 10/7/08):

https://www.mydtv2009.gov/Stats.aspx

This represents a loss in value of $367,916,520 to holders of expired converter box coupons.

There have been 11,716,449 coupons redeemed and 9,198,553 coupons expired without being redeemed.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

--Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1917)
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post #19 of 38 Old 10-11-2008, 03:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MadMike128 View Post

Did you also calculate the number of cable/satalite subscribers that get two coupons

No because I was mainly worried about people who, if they don't get a box, end-up with no television whatsoever. I suspect the FCC Chair has the same concern.
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buy two boxes for $10 each and sell them for $40 each to non suspecting people that maybe wanted more that two or just don't know any better?

Yeah Congress should have policed this better. I recently saw amazon forbid resales of coupon converter boxes from private individuals, so maybe Congress could have put-out similar restrictions on ebay, craigslist, et cetera to prevent people from getting free boxes and then selling for cash.

Oh well. Typical government frakup. Did you hear the Democrats in Congress are pushing for *another* bailout bill? 200 billion. They give-away money as if they have a printing press in the basement. (pause). Oh wait. Duh.
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post #20 of 38 Old 10-11-2008, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post

I recently saw amazon forbid resales of coupon converter boxes from private individuals, so maybe Congress could have put-out similar restrictions on ebay, craigslist, et cetera to prevent people from getting free boxes and then selling for cash.

Theres no such thing as a "free" box. Even the TR-40 costs a little out of pocket. As far as people reselling them, what about those people who were forced to buy whatever was available before their coupon expired and ended up having to settle for crap. Shouldnt they be allowed to resell their box to get their out of pocket costs back?

While it's unethical to resell the box for more than what one paid out of pocket, its no more unethical than these stores selling the box for 20 or more bucks above what it cost them. In fact, BB has dropped the price of their Apex boxes by 5 bucks ($55 instead of $60), which proves they didnt need the $20+ gouge they've been doing since June.
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post #21 of 38 Old 10-11-2008, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nwiser View Post

While it's unethical to resell the box for more than what one paid out of pocket, its no more unethical than these stores selling the box for 20 or more bucks above what it cost them. In fact, BB has dropped the price of their Apex boxes by 5 bucks ($55 instead of $60), which proves they didnt need the $20+ gouge they've been doing since June.

Believe it or not but that is what retailers do. It is part of being a retailer. If we could buy wholesale like they do then we would have a better chance at paying what they pay. Depending on how far down the line they are depends on what they pay. Retailers do not always get from the manufacture. They get from a supplier who may also have a suppllier. A retailer also buying more from the supplier can also get a better volume price. Smaller retailers don't always get the same cost from supliers as the larger retailers do. That is why the mom and pop store has to sell a box of Mac&cheese for more than Wallymart.

But it is messed up how places like Worst Buy will sell for more than the next big chain. But that is why it pays to shop around. And that is one of the few things the web is good for. Saves us on the gas it used to take when we had to drive from store to store to find the better deal.
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post #22 of 38 Old 10-11-2008, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

The current number of expired converter box coupons is 9,198,553 (through 10/7/08):

https://www.mydtv2009.gov/Stats.aspx

This represents a loss in value of $367,916,520 to holders of expired converter box coupons.

There have been 11,716,449 coupons redeemed and 9,198,553 coupons expired without being redeemed.

Just found out today, that the coupons I ordered for a friends address (he knew about), were shreaded in his shreader. He got cold feet about handing them over to me. Thought he would be prosecuted for fraud, if I used them.
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post #23 of 38 Old 10-11-2008, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

Just found out today, that the coupons I ordered for a friends address (he knew about), were shreaded in his shreader. He got cold feet about handing them over to me. Thought he would be prosecuted for fraud, if I used them.

Man, that sucks. It actually says somewhere in the coupon rules that it is OK to use someone else's coupons.
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post #24 of 38 Old 10-11-2008, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

Just found out today, that the coupons I ordered for a friends address (he knew about), were shreaded in his shreader. He got cold feet about handing them over to me. Thought he would be prosecuted for fraud, if I used them.

a. he's paranoid and b. how good is his shredder? if he shredded the cards, odds are they only cut them into strips (not confetti), which you could easily reassemble and get the numbers off of...assuming he hasnt thrown it all out already. dont hesistate to find out.
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post #25 of 38 Old 10-11-2008, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

Just found out today, that the coupons I ordered for a friends address (he knew about), were shreaded in his shreader. He got cold feet about handing them over to me. Thought he would be prosecuted for fraud, if I used them.

LOL!
Toooo funny. But makes me wonder now. I used one of my cards to purchase a box for my mom. Am I gonna be prostituted for that
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post #26 of 38 Old 10-12-2008, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by MadMike128 View Post

LOL!
Toooo funny. But makes me wonder now. I used one of my cards to purchase a box for my mom. Am I gonna be prostituted for that

https://www.dtv2009.gov/FAQ.aspx

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post #27 of 38 Old 10-12-2008, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MadMike128 View Post

LOL!
Toooo funny. But makes me wonder now. I used one of my cards to purchase a box for my mom. Am I gonna be prostituted for that

Prostituted . . . like turned into a sex slave?
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post #28 of 38 Old 10-12-2008, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

Just found out today, that the coupons I ordered for a friends address (he knew about), were shreaded in his shreader. He got cold feet about handing them over to me. Thought he would be prosecuted for fraud, if I used them.

Your friend is living in fear of "Big Brother". Since my coupons expired before anything useful was available, I've had two different friends get more. One is a cable household, the other is a satellite household. In both cases they applied as an OTA only household. Neither thought Big Brother was going to track down records on whether they were really OTA only. Neither is Big Brother going to match up who ordered the coupon with who used it. Not to mention, as has already been posted, it is completely legal to give away coupons.
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post #29 of 38 Old 10-12-2008, 03:40 PM
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I can attest that there is no validation done on the address of the coupon holder. As a retailer in the program, I called the NTIA numerous times near the beginning of the program to express my concern for the potential fraud that that could cause, but all the reps would say is that it is not my responsibility to be concerned about it. Having sold thousands of these converters, I'm actually very surprised that it has not been a bigger issue than it has shown itself to be. I guess $40 in this day and age isn't worth it for your average criminal.
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post #30 of 38 Old 10-12-2008, 11:49 PM
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Prostituted . . . like turned into a sex slave?

Hey if you have never been prostituted to its fullest intent believe me you don't want to be!
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