The switch to digital is set for February 17. But over the past year, even the Feds admitted to us it might not work.

Chairman Kevin Martin, Federal Communications Commission"We can't guarantee that everyone will end being okay, no."

People who got their television signals from rabbit ears or roof top antennas — would only see black if they didn't buy and hook up a special converter box.

We went undercover buying converter boxes and found stores misleading confused shoppers:

Eric Bourassa, MASSPIRG "I think this is wrong information that could end up hurting the consumer."

The Feds offered discount coupons to help buy those converters. But as we showed you — those coupons expired — leaving angry viewers scrambling to get new ones.

Joel Kelsey, Consumer's Union "We believe this is a giant problem"

Now the US Commerce Department admits they've run out of money to back those coupons. And we found: there are a million people on the waiting list to get them.

Jacalyn Mercer, TV viewer "A royal goof up on the part of somebody on the federal level."

We also found if you live where there are tall trees, hills or buildings that could interfere with your signal. Even with a converter box, look: viewers will get no signal or black.

Stuart Lipoff, Centris Study Co-author, TV EXPERT "They're going to have to get cable or buy an outdoor antenna."

Hank Phillippi Ryan"Do they know that?"

Stuart Lipoff, Centris Study Co-author, TV EXPERT "I don't think so."

The switch to digital is still going to happen at some point — if you're not prepared — now's the time. So stay tuned!

For more information and to sign up for the federal government's waitlist to get a coupon: www.DTV2009.gov.

The US Commerce Department, which runs the coupon program, sent a release. See related links.

(Copyright (c) 2009 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

 

 

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