Where are the $40 DTV converter boxes? Apparently not available at most retail stores, so FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is asking that they stock up. The box would be “essentially free” with the government’s $40 subsidy coupon, but Martin has pointed out the boxes are not yet widely available in stores.
In a letter to the executive director of the Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition, published on the FCC Web Site, Martin says the FCC found that “none” of the major retail outlets was carrying the box or planning to carry it.
Martin wants stores like Wal-Mart, Sears, Best Buy, Circuit City and RadioShack to at least have one make of $40 converter box on their shelves.
Meanwhile, acting National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) head Meredith Attwell Baker has a little more radical idea: broadcasters should consider stocking digital-TV-to-analog converter boxes themselves give them out free-of-charge to viewers who need them.
According to B&C, Baker suggests broadcasters could put their station logos on the boxes, allowing them to “build brand awareness while they were helping out.”