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Digital TV Assistance Day Event Helps Asian Elders

World Journal, News Report, By Benjamin Kwan, Translated by Jun Wang, Photos by Dana Levine Posted: Mar 04, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO The broadcasting industry is about to enter a new era. Starting June 12, all TV stations across the country will switch to digital signals. Self-Help for Elderly in San Francisco held a Digital TV Assistance Day last Friday, which drew 200 attendees.
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Representatives from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), TV stations and other organizations answered questions, helped participants fill out digital TV converter coupon applications, and did presentations on how to install and use converters.

Viewers who use antenna to receive TV signals were instructed to buy a digital TV converter to keep enjoying free programs. To help them, the federal government issued two $40 coupons to each family to buy converters priced between $50 to $70 each.

CPUC Commissioner Rachelle Chong said the digital TV conversation was originally scheduled to take effect on Feb. 12, but a lot of viewers were not ready for the original transition day. Coupons were no longer available, and many people didnt get them. The FCC postponed the transition to June 12 and issued another $615 million in converter coupons.

Though the transition date has been postponed, four TV stations in the San Francisco Bay Area -- KOFY20, KICU36, KCNS38 and KFTY50 -- have already been transmitting digital signals. Roger Goldblatt, outreach director with FCC, said both video and audio qualities of TV programs would be improved after the transition. Its estimated that 20 percent of Asian viewers are not ready for the transition yet.

Goldblatt encourages them to apply for converter coupons early, and not to wait until June 12 to have the converters installed.

For questions about converter coupon and installation, please call 888-225-5322, or contact Self-Help for Elderly for assistance: 415-677-7667.

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