Best Buy to sell DTV converter boxesOctober 21st, 2007
Giving Credit Where [Partial] Credit Is Due Dept.: Best Buy announced Wednesday that it will carry DTV converter boxes and participate in the U.S. government $40-off coupon program next year (as we predicted in August). If you watch local stations over the air on an analog TV, finding a life-extending digital-to-analog converter for it in 2008 should not be the chore that it is today.
But if you don’t already own an obsolescent TV (or five), turns out you can’t buy one at Best Buy. The consumer electronics behemoth announced—again!—that its days of selling old-technology television sets are over.
Best Buy missed its original May 1, 2007, deadline for ending analog TV sales. The chain went on to be cited by the FCC for violating federal rules requiring that retailers display special signage, warning of the shutoff of analog broadcasts in 2009, in close proximity to analog-only TV sets.
“Best Buy is the first CE retailer to publicly announce an exit from the analog television business,” the company crowed in a press release last week. Stores were instructed to end analog TV sales on October 1, 2007, the company says.
I am pleased to see major retailers planning to stock DTV converters. Let’s hope they have them in stores in time for the launch of the federal coupon program on January 1, 2008. Converter boxes are not a big-ticket item, and the government’s program includes a long list of rules. For retailers, though, the final phase of the DTV transition should bring customers to their stores. Some converter-box shoppers may even walk out with flat-panel HDTVs.