Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Scammers Exploit DTV Coupon Program

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the old-bait-and-switch dept.

Television 219

An anonymous reader writes "Analog TV users must purchase a DTV converter box before broadcasts go digital in 2009, and the US Government is offering $40 coupons to support the transition. The coupon program requires retailers to become certified by the NTIA (the Government body running the program) before processing orders for the boxes. Apparently the certification program is a bit lax, as the frenzy to purchase DTV boxes using these coupons seems to have drawn unscrupulous fraud artists into the mix. Memsen, via its web site convertmy.tv and its hardware partner Maxmedia, partnered apparently to pull a bait-and-switch game on unsuspecting consumers and the US Government." Read on for details of the scam claimed by this anonymous reader.

Maxmedia and convertmy.tv (CMTV) together promoted the Maxmedia MMDTVB03, which appeared to be the most feature-rich of the coupon-eligible converter boxes. The box drew public interest and even coverage by 3rd-party review sites.

CMTV quickly took pre-orders for the box, and promised delivery first in April, 2008, and later pushed the date back to May. The company immediately redeemed the Government coupons (in violation of the program rules, which prohibit back-ordering) and charged customer credit cards. Early-adopting consumers were willing to overlook these practices, feeling they would eventually own the best box on the market.

CMTV yesterday announced that they would not be shipping the MMDTVB03 at all — it would be replaced by the MMDTVB02, which they claim will have a better picture. Of course, the "new & improved" box will not ship until June. As an alternative, CMTV indicated it would allow customers to switch to an inferior box for $5 less.

Consumers are outraged by CMTV/MaxMedia's bait-and-switch tactics but are having difficulty finding out who these companies really are. Neither company publishes physical addresses or phone numbers on their web sites, and consumers have resorted to their own detective work to find the info.

As of April 8, 2008, the convertmy.tv web site is still accepting and processing orders for the "new" MMDTVB02 — in clear violation of the NTIA program rules, which only allows coupons to be applied to DTV boxes on its approved list.

cancel ×

219 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Coupons eh? (0, Flamebait)

jflo (1151079) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006592)

I am glad and all for the Television industry getting this upgrade, but.... really, old people who can't afford to purchase cable tv or a satellite dish (for the included conversion and tons of channels) should be forced to get a job. I mean seriously? Our tax dollars are at work here, and well, this is just all a part of the liberal agenda in this country. Make the elders work, atleast then they could watch some cable porn while taking of their classic salt baths. Think about it... seriously.

Re:Coupons eh? (5, Interesting)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006824)

Broadcast TV is free as a public service, and there are legitimate reasons people might want to have broadcast TV without paying for a service package. In this election year, debates and other government programming should remain available at no cost. This is an important part of a modern democracy, that is maintaining an educated public.

I and my wife only have cable TV because it's free with cable internet. We are contemplating a move out of town, beyond the service area of the cable company. If we do, the only TV service we will take will be broadcast, not satellite.

Frankly, we have too much on our hands to even watch the few things we have recorded on our recorder, but it would still be nice to have some service available for free.

Re:Coupons eh? (2, Insightful)

jflo (1151079) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007036)

I totally agree that there should be a public broadcasting system in place, however, I don't think that because some people can't afford a convertor box, that fellow tax payers should be penalized over a luxery preference in tv viewing.

Re:Coupons eh? (4, Informative)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007068)

They aren't. The government is using money they got from selling the airwaves in the recent auctions.

Re:Coupons eh? (1)

jaredmauch (633928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007900)

I'd rather they be LARTING the deathstar, er "new" ATT into FTTH to have a chance to keep up with the bandwidth onslaught. We're reading how Verizon, Comcast, etc.. are going ahead and providing faster data services, and even degrading HDTV content, ditching basic-cable analog channels, etc.. all to obtain further space for packets. We're quickly moving into a multi-tier internet access world. Those with fiber (high speed). Those with copper that can get some flavor of DSL, and those that can get 28.8k dial-up. The majority of the people in ATT/SBC/Bellsouth (and even Qwest) land are going to be rapidly seeing their access speeds fall off and lose significance just the way dial users have already lost except for basic web browsing and email. While satellite is available, it's really in the mid-to-last tier of service speeds.

Re:Coupons eh? (2, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007532)

I totally agree that there should be a public broadcasting system in place, however, I don't think that because some people can't afford a convertor box, that fellow tax payers should be penalized over a luxery preference in tv viewing.

And I think that if Google and a bunch of telcos pay the government $billions to make bandwith landgrabs that break my perfectly good TV, the least they can do is use some of the proceeds to compensate me for my expenses.

Other solutions. (0)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007164)

Classic television occupied two frequency bands: VHF and UHF. There was no need to phase them both out at the same time. The Pols needlessly forced a flag day [techdict.org] and they deserve to be criticized for their ignorance.

you'll love HDTV if.... (5, Informative)

bball99 (232214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007608)

you get good reception... here are few things to keep in mind:

1. you'll [generally[ need a decent UHF antenna... some channels are in the VHF range, but unless you're in one of the oddball U.S. areas, a UHF antenna optimized for reception from 450MHz to 800MHz will do just fine...

2. buy a good antenna, *not* an amplified antenna, overpriced POS antenna from Rat Shack, Target, or Wally World... i'd recommend a DB2 or DB4 design (bow-tie omni w/grid)... you'll find 'em on-line from $25 to $50...

3. keep in mind that the signal is digital and you'll need to point the antenna towards the transmitters... UHF is line-of-sight, so building, towers, trees, walls, etc. can reduce signal... that said, i use a DB2 indoors at 8-foot height and get 20 channels more than 30 miles away from the transmitters... (am using a Hauppauge PVR-950 USB into a 20" AL iMac, but may hook up to my Wega in the near future)...

4. you'll will be *very* impressed with the on-the-air signal compared to the crappy fare touted by your current cable company... nice pictures...

5. you may get better reception at night

6. storms will affect your signal

7. you need good reception or you will lose the picture

8. use a quality RG-6 cable, but don't spring for the over-priced 'gold connector' junk flouted by mindless clerks in stores...

9. outdoor antenna will be better, but you can get surprisingly good reception using an indoor antenna... (amplified rabbit ears [mini-dipoles] aren't worth the money

10. again, antenna direction, placement is key...

hth!

oh, and also... (2, Interesting)

bball99 (232214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007628)

if you use a cable run longer than 50-75 feet, do use a signal amplifier...

Re:Coupons eh? (3, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006964)

get off my lawn and i'll get a job

Re:Coupons eh? (-1, Offtopic)

fabu10u$ (839423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007070)

I've got mine, f— everyone else!

"Featureful Terrestrial Digital Receiver" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006596)

That's supposed to be a featureful terrestrial DTV receiver box? Does it have a EPG? Does it have interactive TV and digital text?

Freeview boxes can be had for a tenner ($20) in the UK. Oh, yeah, America went with ATSC instead of DVB-T. Better to send the signal to some hick 50 miles away in rural hicksville.

Homeland security should pay (-1, Offtopic)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006636)

Terrorist digital receivers. Dang they're everywhere!

Re:"Featureful Terrestrial Digital Receiver" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006842)

some hick 50 miles away in rural hicksville.

LMAO

50 miles is the edge of the suburbs.

Sorry, always amused at European conceptions of the size of the US. :)

(Try 200 miles away, unless you REALLY mean the middle of nowhere...)

Re:"Featureful Terrestrial Digital Receiver" (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006968)

"In America we think 100 years is a long time, and in Europe they think 100 miles is a long distance."

Re:"Featureful Terrestrial Digital Receiver" (3, Informative)

Gription (1006467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007508)

Here lets give him a picture so he can compare...

This links to a satellite view of the United States:
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=k&ll=38.68551,-100.019531&spn=33.079911,60.117187&z=4 [google.com]
This links to a satellite view of the same scale centered on England:
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=51.508742,0&spn=53.711322,120.234375&t=k&z=3 [google.com]

Notice central Europe, Greenland, Newfoundland, Norway, Sweden, the Middle East, northern Africa, Russia, etc..., all fit in the same sized view.
Hmmm... I've seen more then one visitor from the other side of the pond completely miscalculate the length of time their road trip would take.

Re:"Featureful Terrestrial Digital Receiver" (2, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007834)

Notice central Europe, Greenland, Newfoundland, Norway, Sweden, the Middle East, northern Africa, Russia, etc..., all fit in the same sized view.
It isn't quite that simple. Google maps uses mercator projection [wikipedia.org] which distorts the size as a trade-off for depicting longitude lines as parallel instead of converging like they do on a real sphere.

Thus the farther towards the poles, the more the size is exaggerated. Which, in this case makes Europe, the UK and especially greenland, look larger as they are generally more northern than the US. For example, NYC seems to be roughly in the same latitude as northern spain or the south of france.

Re:"Featureful Terrestrial Digital Receiver" (1)

mnslinky (1105103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007674)

Easy for you to say in the UK. Some of our small states are larger is area than your entire island. It's rather inexpensive to create just a few large, high-watt, transmitters than thousands of them.

And to sum it up (0, Flamebait)

sadgoblin (1269500) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006606)

Welcome to the USA.

Misleading summary (3, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006614)

Analog TV users are not REQUIRED to purchase a converter box. A converter box is needed if you wish to continue to view over-the-air TV after the transition. Big difference. It's not like Europa.

Re:Misleading summary (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006674)

Good point. You should attempt no landings there.

Re:Misleading summary (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23007176)

We on Uranus do not have TV. We'd get sh*tty reception, anyway.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006980)

Well if it is anything like here in the UK, you will have to
  • pay someone hundreds of dollarpoundeuros to put a new TV aerial up on your roof
  • (possibly hiring a cherry picker vehicle because health and safety laws don't allow for the use of "ladders" any more, or see what you can get away with),
  • carefully point it in the right direction using high-tech pointing device, then
  • add a powered signal booster on the shared aerial, then
  • add another signal booster on your freeview box, then
  • still not receive all the channels because some multiplexes are broadcasting at the power of a rusted bicycle dynamo, and most importantly
  • lose signal completely whenever anyone in a blasted stupid 50cc moped pizza delivery fart machine is driving within 1km (half a mile) of your house, usually when Jon Stewart is getting to the punch line. Yes I live on the main road.

[Offtopic] What is required for an analog TV? (2, Interesting)

quizwedge (324481) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007086)

Offtopic, but I can't seem to find out enough about this from my local electronics stores. I have a non-HD TV with no cable, satellite, or rabbit ears. We've opted for DVDs instead. With the switch to HD-TV signals, I registered and received my coupons. I realize that with the converter, I still need to have some kind of antenna. I recently saw the Philips MANT310 at my local Walmart (can't find a link to just the product, so I'll post the Radio Shack link: http://www.radioshack.com/sm-philips-mant310-indoor-amplified-vhf-uhf-fm-tv-antenna--pi-2455308.html [radioshack.com] ). My question is, since this receives HD-TV signals, do I still need the converter box for my non-HD TV? Would there be a benefit to getting the converter box? Thanks.

Re:[Offtopic] What is required for an analog TV? (2, Informative)

fo0bar (261207) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007218)

My question is, since this [antenna] receives HD-TV signals, do I still need the converter box for my non-HD TV? Would there be a benefit to getting the converter box? Thanks.

Yes, you still need the DTV receiver. The DTV receiver is what actually processes OTA signals. The whole "DTV-capable" antenna marketing is largely a sham, like ethernet cables that say they're "broadband ready". Any standard VHF/UHF antenna is usable on your DTV receiver.

Re:[Offtopic] What is required for an analog TV? (1)

quizwedge (324481) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007272)

Thanks so much!

Re:[Offtopic] What is required for an analog TV? (1)

wc_paladin (989918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007262)

yeah, you will still need the converter box. The antenna just picks up the signal, it is still digital and has to be decoded to analog to work with most TV's. Also, if you need help picking out an antenna, check out antennaweb.org [antennaweb.org]

Tips! Also matrices of convert boxes to compare. (3, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007278)

First, go to TVfool [tvfool.com] and Antennaweb [antennaweb.org] to find out where all the transmitters are and how far. Then, you need to see what type of antenna to get. Good places to discuss about DTV are at: news://alt.tv.tech.hdtv [tech.hdtv] (newsgroup) and AVS Forum [avsforum.com] . I am not an expert and still learning, but these places are useful.

I couldn't use my old fashion rabbit ears since they were too weak and they were decent for analog feeds.

For those who can't decide which converter boxes to get with the coupons, then see Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and here [freelabs.com] . I still haven't ddecided what to get and I need to get them before May 27th, 2008 (should had waited to get better models). :(

Re:[Offtopic] What is required for an analog TV? (1)

song-of-the-pogo (631676) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007306)

unless your television has an atsc tuner (which wasn't clear to me from what you posted), you will need a box. as far as i know, most standard-def televisions (at least ones of the age i own(>5 years old)) only have ntsc tuners. i am unable to view ota digital signals on my tv without an atsc tuner which, in my case, is supplied by an elgato eye-tv (run through an old mac mini i have no other use for). i could, of course, be totally wrong.

Re:[Offtopic] What is required for an analog TV? (2, Informative)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007348)

You should get an antenna and a converter box.

The antenna will receive the Over-the-Air television broadcast, but will not convert the DTV signal for your analog TV. You need a Converter Box to convert the DTV broadcast and output the signal your analog TV.

Also, you need a good VHF/UHF antenna for DTV signals. With Analog TV, a poor signal meant that the picture was snowy, contained echos, or is poor quality but still watchable. With DTV, a poor signal *may* make the broadcast unwatchable (the digital TV will blink in and out). See http://dtvfacts.com/102/do-i-need-a-new-antenna-to-get-digital-tv/ [dtvfacts.com] for a good summary.

Remember--- HDTV and DTV are different things. DTV is "Digital Television". "HDTV" is "High-Definition Television". Not all DTV signals are HDTV.

I'm in a similar situation. We watch broadcast TV and DVDs. We don't have cable or satellite. I just picked up a nice 37-inch analog TV (manufactured in 2005) for $100, and now I'm looking into DTV converter boxes.

Re: WAY off (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23007400)

Woooo, way off on the knowledge base there. The switch is to DIGITAL tv transmissions. Nobody ever claimed the switch is to strictly HD tv.

Re: Misleading summary (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007152)

Analog TV users are not REQUIRED to purchase a converter box. A converter box is needed if you wish to continue to view over-the-air TV after the transition. Big difference. It's not like Europa.
Different from Europe, how? I live in the Netherlands, you're not REQUIRED to purchase anything, and you have similar choices here:
  • You can watch cable TV
  • You can watch TV using some ADSL internet/phone/TV combo package
  • You can get a satellite receiver
  • You can watch DVD's and read books, OR
For the small remaining group, your analog TV is useless these days, unless you get a DVB-T receiver. You can buy that and watch the public channels (3 here) for free, or get a subscription and watch your basic cable selection of channels. In that case, a simple/basic receiver will be thrown in for free as well, in the shape of a coupon/refund. Note: that's in the Netherlands, but may be different in other countries in Europe.

Re:Misleading summary (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23007160)

The rebate form has issues as well.

They asked me how many tvs I have have...two. How many on a cable box? Two. You don't need a converter box, goodbye...

What if I decide to cancel cable in two years???

I had to redo the form saying no cable boxes to get the cards...

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23007304)

I was denied a coupon and when I requested a reason, the govt site replied after 8 weeks that my apartment was a business address. News to me, guys. Hello, Dilbert.

You can't be serious. (4, Interesting)

faedle (114018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006626)

So, let me get this straight.

You gave your credit card information to a company you've never heard of that has no contact information on their website that you did not validate?

Hahahahahahahahaha.

Re:You can't be serious. (4, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006700)

Seriously. Everybody who ordered one should just dispute the charges with their credit card company. The massive influx of disputes will make the merchant bank close their merchant account and then their out of business like they should be.

Re:You can't be serious. (3, Insightful)

faedle (114018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006768)

Problem. They have already "redeemed" the $40 coupons issued by the US Government, and it would appear that consumers are out the "money" (on both counts: the NTIA has paid the retailer, and the consumer doesn't get their $40 off the converter).

It seems doubly stupid, given the fact that a lot of people have had good luck with the Zenith converter being sold at your corner Radio Shack store.

Re:You can't be serious. (0, Troll)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007526)

Not Really. If you complain, the merchant bank will issue a chargeback to their bank account and they will take money from them. You'll get back whatever was charged to your credit card. However the taxpayer will be out their $40 (just why do all the rich people have to pay so poor people can have DTV, I don't know) which is what really stinks. They should have a special place in jail for scammers like this.

Re:You can't be serious. (1)

FreakWent (627155) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007780)

Please provide figures and sources displaying that the bulk of taxation falls upon the personal finances of the rich people in your country, because I bet it's not true.

I'd also point out that the poor people end up in the armed forces protecting the cash flows of the rich, so I reckon they get the worse end of the deal.

Lastly, I'd point out that the poor people were/are by and large pretty happy with the TV sets they have, and it was not the poor people who made the decision to shut off the broadcast signal.

Re:You can't be serious. (1)

faedle (114018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007842)

While data for the last tax year isn't available, from 2000 the top 10% of all taxpayers paid 40.1% of the income tax paid to the Federal government, while those earning less than $20k a year represented around 5% of the total tax liability paid.

Even though the top 10% only represents 2.2% of all taxpayers, and those in the under 20% bracket represent over 30% of all taxpayers.

http://www.house.gov/jct/x-45-00.pdf [house.gov]

Now shut up.

Re:You can't be serious. (1)

faedle (114018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007782)

Great, so you get back $20.

Meanwhile, they've pocketed $40 of taxpayer dollars.

I fail to see how this is a "lose" for the scammers.

Re:You can't be serious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23007224)

How can you be insightful when you can't get their /they're right?

Re:You can't be serious. (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007686)

I don't disagree with you that people should be more careful shopping online. But in their defense, convertmytv.com is listed on the official gov't coupon site [dtv2009.gov] as a valid online retailer, which might give one the impression that they're legit.

Re:You can't be serious. (0, Troll)

faedle (114018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007850)

Trusting the US Government is about as stupid as trusting a website with a PO Box listed on the domain registration and no phone number or address on the Contact Us.. page.

Yep (4, Insightful)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006644)

Don't do business with internet sites that don't have any possible non-internet based mode of contact.  Like a phone number.  Or an address.

Interestingly, as an aside, all the credit reporting services run sites like that.  Which makes them pretty shady in my book.

Re:Yep (2, Informative)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007200)


Interestingly, as an aside, all the credit reporting services run sites like that.

Huh? Each of the 3 major credit reporting companies (transunion, equifax, and experian) have 800 numbers, and physical addresses to contact them at. I'm not sure if they're such great companies, but there's nothing particularly shady about them.

Re:Yep (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23007578)

Do they really need that many numbers??

Re:Yep (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007682)

Each of the 3 major credit reporting companies (transunion, equifax, and experian) have 800 numbers, and physical addresses to contact them at.
I don't think he meant the agencies that report to corps, but rather the variety of websites that sell you access to your own credit report(s) with optional services like emailing you every time there is change to your report.

They seem like a bunch of over-priced profiteers cashing in on problems and fears of problems like identity theft.

Re:Yep (1)

Veroxii (51114) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007398)

Like google. Just try and get someone on the phone. Heck, try and get a phone number off their site.

Re:Yep (2, Insightful)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007558)

Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone: +1 650-253-0000
Fax: +1 650-253-0001

Main page > About Google > Contact Us

Waiting for me coupon (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006666)

I filled out the form to get a coupon quite a while ago, but haven't had it come in yet. I figure once it arrives, I'll wait until I can walk into a brick and mortar store and pick one up. Ideally one that costs as close as possible to $40.
 
I'll still need an antenna. I wonder if some places will do a bundle deal and allow the coupon to cover both? That would be nice.

Re:Waiting for me coupon (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006810)

I'll still need an antenna.

Really?

What are you currently using for an antenna? What's wrong with that?

Re:Waiting for me coupon (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007092)

Really? What are you currently using for an antenna? What's wrong with that?

My other antenna is an 18inch dish.........

Re:Waiting for me coupon (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007360)

I have cable but we are dropping it.

Cliff effect (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007380)

Because of the cliff effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_effect [wikipedia.org] the signal is either good or completely unwatchable.
If you get a lot of static with your current antenna, you will probably need to get a better one.

Re:Waiting for me coupon (1)

Rick17JJ (744063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006904)

I applied for 2 coupons from the dtv2009.gov website in January. If I remember correctly, their website said they would start start sending the coupons out in February. February has come and gone and I am still waiting for my coupons.

I wonder if I should try applying again?

Re:Waiting for me coupon (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007106)

Got mine this past weekend. Relax, they're in the mail.

Re:Waiting for me coupon (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007288)

I got mine on the first day of 2008. I got it like a month ago. I assume the place is backlogged to send them out. There is a status page to see where your requests are.

Re:Waiting for me coupon (1)

Rick17JJ (744063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007548)

I went to the dtv2009.gov website, just now, and clicked on the large graphic that says "where is your coupon." I did not have my original coupon number, so I tried to look it up by the combination of my last name and address. Unfortunately, it could not find my coupon status.

I called their 1-888-388-2009 telephone number to check on the status of my coupon and they could not find it either. So, they had me apply for another coupon. I decided to apply for just one instead of two this time.

I would not be surprised if they still send me the 2 coupons from the original request that I had done online. If so, I will just send the third coupon back.

The coupons are already out? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006678)

I sent off for two coupons months ago, and haven't heard or received anything. I assumed they were just slow getting out. I MUST HAVE BEEN HACKED!!!

Seriously, that ticks me off, because that would have saved me eighty dollars. I really do rely on just over-the-air broadcasting.

Re:The coupons are already out? (5, Informative)

faedle (114018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006804)

You do know that you can go online and check the status of your converter coupon request, right?

It's not like http://dtv2009.gov/ [dtv2009.gov] doesn't have a HUGE graphic on the front page saying "Wondering where your coupon is?"

Re:The coupons are already out? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006862)

You do know that you can go online and check the status of your converter coupon request, right?

Honestly, I thought it might be possible, but I also thought it would entail forty-five minutes of navigating through clunky .gov websites. Thanks for the direct link.

Update (This is a real-time comment): My coupon application is not found. I apparently need to reapply. I'll keep you all posted.

Re:The coupons are already out? (1)

faedle (114018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006934)

Well, you do have to go through the kind-of clunky "are you a human?" intelligence test.

I ordered mine pretty much when the website went online, and got my coupons about three weeks ago.

Get the Zenith DTT900. It's about the best one on the market right now. The only feature it does not have is analog pass-thru, which is likely only required if you live somewhere with translators that aren't going digital (ie: the "boonies"). It's sold at RadioShack stores.

Re:The coupons are already out? (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007564)

Well, you do have to go through the kind-of clunky "are you a human?" intelligence test.
Some of us have a hard time with those.

Re:The coupons are already out? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007194)

I ordered mine of the first day of 2008. It took a while. I assume you haven't gotten yours because of the backlogged of requests. Be patient.

Re:The coupons are already out? (1)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007310)

I had my mom sign up pretty soon after the site went live (accepting requests) and she got her coupons a few weeks ago. I can only guess it's like tax refunds, the delay goes up steeply the longer you wait to send in your request.

Say it ain't so! (4, Insightful)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006758)

Fraud with government money? Next you'll be telling me congress wastes our tax dollars.

Nobody saw this coming?

Re:Say it ain't so! (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006788)

Name one waste.

Re:Say it ain't so! (3, Insightful)

faedle (114018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006836)

Sending out $40 coupons for a $50 converter, rather than just telling people to take $40 off their tax liability and submit a receipt sounds like a good starter.

Re:Say it ain't so! (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007034)

See, when you say waste, but what you mean is that you have no clue why this happen and happily jump to some bent conclusion.

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007140)

Congress wastes our tax dollars by going to war. That seems like a pretty easy shot, but, it's true. It'd make more sense to invest the money in math & science education here so that we retained more of our tech jobs, and could then hire all of those people we would have killed to work low-paying, labor-intensive jobs in our super mega factory factories that they know nothing about.

When you consider that as an alternative, doesn't paying $90 billion dollars to kill them now seem like a waste?

Of course, most people are wasteful, when you consider their actions in terms of opportunity cost.

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

faedle (114018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007760)

No, it is a waste.

Instead of just implementing it as a tax credit (which wouldn't really cost much of anything), the US Government's Department of Commerce is spending millions to process applications, create an infrastructure to accept coupons (which are a form of electronic debit card), and to then put the money in retailer's hands.

It would have been cheaper for the US Government to buy a couple of million boxes, delay the cutover until 2010, and give them to the Census Bureau to distribute when they count the Census.

Whether or not the entire idea of giving people a converter box, as opposed to "letting the market sort it out" itself is another story, but one we'll leave for another generation.

Re:Say it ain't so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006860)

how's the war doing, with all those private contractors?

Re:Say it ain't so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006890)

Re:Say it ain't so! (0, Flamebait)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006906)

NEOCONS

Re:Say it ain't so! (-1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007042)

haha, so the only defense is to mad me Troll, I win.

troll, the ad hominum attack of mods.

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007054)

I've now gotten 3 identical, multipage notices in the mail from the government telling me to expect an economic stimulus check in June.

Wouldn't it be less wasteful just to send me the check?

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007192)

Would you hold the check until the money was available? Would most people? how man people would loose it and then bitch it's not their fault and the government shouldn't be sending fraudulent checks anyways?

Plus, the government has been inundated with 'where's my money' calls. Sending people letters is a lot cheaper then trying to answer millions of phone calls.

Re:Say it ain't so! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23007302)

Your reference to "money becoming available" somehow limiting government spending is ridiculous. Have you been at the bottom of well rubbing in the lotion for the last 80 years ?

Re:Say it ain't so! (0, Troll)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007082)

Only one? Jeez, you set the bar low.

Wasting my damn taxpayer dollars on providing Americans with TV service. There, done. Do I get a cookie or something?

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007154)

Just stating something doesn't make it so.
How is that a waste?
Why do you ignore the billions of tax dollars these items will provide?

If anything, it's an investment.
Next.

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007476)

Tell me... how on God's green fucking earth is TV going to provide BILLIONS of tax dollars?

Re:Say it ain't so! (1)

faedle (114018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007898)

Well, how much did the US Government get from the recent auctions?

Guess where that spectrum is coming from? TV UHF Channels 52 through 59.

Just one block, the Class C block, netted the US Treasury $4.74 billion.

Re:Say it ain't so! (0)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007202)

War on drugs and tobacco subsidies.

Re:Say it ain't so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23007028)

I just have to question why the government even needs to provide "coupons" for this transition. If people are having a hard time purchasing the conversion equipment then helping them watch more tv isnt helping anyone.

Coupons expire (5, Informative)

w3rdna (253598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006798)

The real issues is the coupons expire after 90 days. So delayed boxes effectively become available fo r the early order of coupons. If they process them ahead of time then they will not expire before delivery... The second part is once used, coupons can not be refunded or transfered to a different retailler. Thus you are locked into where every you processed the coupon.

Sad (1)

willbry (1209876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006926)

This is really sad because there is already so much confusion among the population about the digital television transition. I'll keep tracking the dtv transition progress on my blog (http://williambryson.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] ) and help visitors with their questions. The questions I receive reflect the mass confusion that exists about this whole process. But scum like this should be nailed to the wall IMHO.

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006990)

No one cares about your shitty blog.

Please keep spam to yourself.

Most expensive coupon design I've ever seen (4, Interesting)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006958)

The really insulting thing about the coupon program is the amount of effort and wasted money that went into it. I submitted a request for two coupons to get my parents two ancient (yet apparently inseperable) televisions. When the coupons showed up, they're the same shape, size, and weight as a credit card, INCLUDING a nifty hologram and raised letters and mag stripe. Are you kidding me? A Starbucks card is made out of flimsier material and is entrusted with far more value. They could have just printed out a piece of paper with 'It's a coupon, I swear to god!' and a serial number written on it -- vendor verifies that the serial number hasn't been 'claimed', done.

Re:Most expensive coupon design I've ever seen (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007172)

Except some ass hat is going to print 10,000 coupons with someone else serial number. Then you will be crying "Why did they use paper, that's so stupid!"

The amount of money generate from fraud would far outstripped the money the coupon saved.

Re:Most expensive coupon design I've ever seen (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007336)

It is possible to generate serial numbers of a sufficient length to make the probability of discovering a collision impractical. Plenty of businesses issue one-time-only printed coupons using these types of serial numbers, and they seem to get by OK without massive counterfeiting.

Re:Most expensive coupon design I've ever seen (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007550)

Are they as expansive as the US government, or mom n' pop (relatively speaking) establishments?

Re:Most expensive coupon design I've ever seen (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007890)

It's a $40 coupon. The probably spent less than $1 printing it. What's the problem?

(If $1 is correct, all the coupon has to do is prevent fraud 3% of the time and it is a net win).

From someone needing to get the converter... (1)

sdhoigt (1095451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007276)

Sorry, this is a little off topic, but has anyone already received the $40 coupon and purchased a converter?

I'd be curious to hear your impressions of the converter you purchased (incl. price).

Thanks,

SD

Re:From someone needing to get the converter... (2, Informative)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007648)

We got our coupons and got the Insignia (Zenith?) box from Best Buy, picture has been either better or unwatchable depending on the signal. I think we need a better antenna or something. On the upside, we don't have to use these boxes until next year, around when the signals will hopefully be better. Also, there are a lot more digital channels than analog. Many channels have multiple subchannels, which is quite cool. Having a program guide, even if all it shows is the current and next program, is also nice for someone who's never had one. Overall, it's a nice box for $60 and supposedly it's got some nice LG chip inside it, so I'd recommend it. It also has a universal power button for turning on/off your TV, which is a nice plus and worked with our less ancient (1996) TV.

Re:From someone needing to get the converter... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007776)

Yes. My coupons took about 2 months to arrive.

I bought an Insignia brand box at Best Buy. About $65, IIRC. It works OK.

corepirate nazi felons scamming all of US/world (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23007342)

better days ahead? see you there? let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Potential Help? (4, Informative)

Flash0424 (1231554) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007542)

For those interested, the convertmy.tv site is hosted by IQuestHosting. I would imagine that pressure put on the hosting site could cause some speedier results. Their number (freely available on their site) is: 1-877-254-8761. Digging a little deeper (with WHOIS) provides their network operations number - 1-800-844-8649. A little 'social engineering' could get one past their typical customer service line. I have used these numbers in the past to get refunds on products that were purchased but never shipped, purchased and returned but not refunded, etc...

Interestingly enough, their 'Terms of Use' states some info about violating Federal Law, which might be a leverage point:

"Lawful Purpose

IQuest Internet, LLC, reserves the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time. Customers may only use IQuest Internet, LLC, services for lawful purpose. Transmission of any material in violation of any federal, state, or local regulation is strictly prohibited. The includes, but is not limited to, copyrighted material, material legally judged to be threatening or obscene, and material protected by trade secrets. The designation of any materials as described above is left entirely to the discretion of IQuest Internet, LLC, management. Regardless of the place of signing of this agreement, the customer agrees that for purposes of venue, this contract was entered into in Marion County, Indiana, and any dispute will be litigated or arbitrated in Marion County, Indiana."

Issues like these typically target the elderly (a lot like the commercials that are running!!), which doesn't speak well of our morals today!

Hope it helps!!

Flash

Say it ain't so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23007812)

Somebody scamming a government program? No way!

Next thing you are going to tell me is that the sun is going to rise in the EAST tomorrow...sheesh!

A Scam?? Please don't tell me ... (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23007816)

... that I don't need the $800 set of Monster cables they sold me with the $65 box.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>