Remember that whole coupon thing I mentioned earlier?

The digital TV transition has hit a little bump in the road. At least for anyone trying to get a coupon for a converter box. The program to get $40 toward a box to receive digital TV signals through an analog connection has run out of funds (or as it’s gently put on the site “reached its funding ceiling”).

There’s a waiting list available on the site where if you’re lucky, someone else’s coupon will expire. After all, they’re only good for 90 days. As is typical, it’s on a first-come, first-served basis. Of course they’re kind enough to offer a few options:

Consumers who have an analog TV and rely on a rooftop antenna or rabbit ears to receive their programs are encouraged to take action to ensure at least one TV in their home is prepared for the digital television transition. You may:

  • Purchase a TV converter box without a coupon;
  • Buy a TV with a digital tuner, or;
  • Subscribe to cable, satellite or another pay service

For those of you who were confused by those options, I’ll simpify them:

  • Suck it up and pay for our underestimation
  • Spend 10 times what a converter box would cost
  • Pay for the equivalent of a converter box a month.

I’m not a fan of these options and it’s looking more and more like we’re coming up on the long-predicted nightmare of a chaotic DTV transition. Most people will be fine, but there’s going to be a significant number of people cut off from free television on February 17.

President-elect Barack Obama has asked for a delay in the transition because of this. Congress will have to pass a law before the deadline to change it.

An interesting fact: The coupon pool was $1.34 billion, enough for 33,500,000 coupons, or a TV for just over 10 percent of the American population.

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