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To try to help consumers with the transition to digital format television early next year, drug chain Rite Aid is offering digital TV converter boxes at all of its stores through March 2009.
"At Rite Aid our goal is to provide our customers with the products and services they need to make their lives easier," said Bryan Shirtliff, Rite Aid s.v.p., category management. "Customers can purchase a digital converter box at any of our stores and immediately begin enjoying the benefits of digital broadcasting, avoiding not only the last-minute scramble to do so next year, but [also] any disruption to their viewing habits once the switch takes place next year."
When plugged into an analog TV, the digital converter boxes will enable the TV to continue to work after the transition takes place on Feb. 17, 2009. Three different brands of digital converter boxes will be available at Rite Aid, ranging in price from $59.99 to $69.99.
Beginning at midnight on Feb. 17, all television broadcast signals in the United States will change to a 100 percent digital format as mandated by the federal government. Analog television sets receiving free TV using an antenna will not work after this date. Viewers who are not connected to a cable or satellite service must either purchase a digital converter box to use with their current TV; connect their analog TV to a cable, satellite or other pay service; or purchase a TV with a digital tuner.
The U.S. government is providing up to two $40 coupons per household to offset the cost of the digital converter boxes, and these coupons can be redeemed at all Rite Aid stores.
Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid operates about 5,000 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia.