Mark your calendar for February 17, 2009. That's the date set by Congress, as part of a sweeping budget-cutting bill, that broadcasters will be mandated to shut down their analog broadcasts (both the Senate and broadcasters had previously agreed to the date, so the bill now only awaits the President's signature to become law). However, if you can't bear to part with that old Philco or Admiral, you won't have to toss it. The government will be setting aside $1.5 billion in subsidies to help consumers get converters to allow older analog sets to receive digital broadcasts. And, no, you can't request a piece of that to pick up a 60-inch plasma, so don't even think about it.

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Analog TV shutdown all but set for 2009