Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don't Toss TV For Digital

1. Check Your TV - Many TVs made after 2003 were equipped with digital tuners. Look for a label that says "Integrated Digital Tuner," "Integrated Digital Receiver," "Digital Receiver Built-in," or "Digital Receiver Built-in." If you have a digital tuner already, you're all set.

2. Use a converter box – If you don't have a digital tuner, a set-top converter box can still keep your TV from becoming e-waste. Each household is eligible to receive two vouchers, valued at $40 each, to use toward purchase of a converter. Check out for more information.

3. Recycle your television – If you must purchase a new television, make sure your old one isn't simply carted to a landfill. The Basel Action Network ( provides a list of recyclers who have pledged not to export hazardous e-waste. Also, Sony is offering a free take-back program for all Sony electronics in the US.

The transition to digital television is ripe for scams. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning on bait-and-switch ads where companies are offering "free" TV channels, services and a converter box to people who ordered a $59 warranty. In reality, you won't get extra channels for free with any converter box.

Don't hire anyone offering to install the converter boxes for a price. The boxes are not hard to install, with color-coded cables that correspond to those on newer television sets. If you need help, get it from the store where you bought the box.

Find answers to many questions about the DTV switch at AARP and the government DTV website or call toll-free 1-888-388-2009.

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