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Consumer Electronics Industry Helps Wilmington Area Seniors Living In Long-Term Care Facilities Convert To Digital Television


The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® announced today it will provide more than 100 free digital television converter boxes to residents living in long-term care facilities in Wilmington, North Carolina, and the surrounding counties. The converter boxes will be provided to residents who do not subscribe to pay-TV service, ensuring they can continue to watch their favorite programs free over-the-air. Wilmington’s full-power commercial television stations will commence all-digital broadcasting on September 8, 2008, five months ahead of the nationwide digital conversion on February 17, 2009.

“Wilmington is leading the nation in ushering in the era of digital broadcasting, and this initiative by CEA members means long-term care residents in Wilmington can continue to enjoy their favorite channels, as well as new programming choices”, said Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president and CEO.

The converter boxes are provided by CEA member companies Best Buy (Insignia brand), EchoStar (DTVPal brand), and LG Electronics (Zenith brand). CEA is providing information on the donations to administrators of long-term care facilities and representatives from local agencies. This CEA initiative is made in cooperation with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is the federal agency responsible for the converter box program. Representatives from EchoStar and Zenith are demonstrating how to install and operate the boxes and CEA is providing copies of its “Florence Henderson’s Digital Tips” brochures, which include a three-step converter box installation guide. Facility staff will install the converter boxes for residents this summer.

“TV is a lifeline for many people in long-term care, and many of our seniors on fixed incomes rely on free over-the-air channels,” said Jane Jones, Director of the Area Agency on Aging for the Cape Fear Council of Governments in Wilmington. “We appreciate the consumer electronics industry’s help and concern for these individuals.”

CEA reminds over-the-air TV viewers nationwide that they have three options to prepare for February 17, 2009, when full-power TV stations nationwide begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format:

1. Subscribe to a pay-TV service such as cable or satellite;
2. Purchase a TV with a built-in digital tuner, available for $150 and up; or
3. Purchase a digital TV converter box, available for $50 to $70 at consumer electronics retailers. The federal government offers up to two $40 discount coupons per household to offset the cost of certified converter boxes; more information is available at or 1-888-DTV-2009.

More information about CEA’s ongoing digital television public education efforts and a downloadable copy of “Florence Henderson’s Digital Tips,” can be found online at Consumers may also obtain the guide by writing to Digital Tips, P.O. Box 73, Fanwood, New Jersey 07023.


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