Americans to get DTV coupons before analog gets the kibosh

In 2009, we'll all say our final farewells (good riddances) to sub-par analog television. Despite congressional apprehension, the Department of Commerce has gone forward with a plan to ease old-hat Americans into the digital TV age. Our source article's coughed up some wacky numbers, so we can't really tell whether the budget will suffice or not. Any household will be allowed to claim two $40 coupons each for a discount on digi-to-analog set-top boxes until nearly $1 billion has been spent. If old-hat peeps are still left hanging, another $500,000 ($500 million?) will be available only to those depending on antennas for reception. Apparently only 15% of the current 73 million analog TV users are catching their TV via antenna, so they shouldn't have much trouble scoring the discount at least. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration's plan alots for a max amount of about 33,750 (37.5 million?) coupons -- hopefully enough to keep everyone glued to the tube. In the case of a shortage, one idea is to sit tight and hope enough people opt out of the coupons and volunteer to throw down for a new TV that supports digital broadcasting. Another is for the government to increase the subsidy -- a measure the Democrats already tried to push for with no success. Either way, we're talking about a historic shift in the way we watch television in America, people -- it's sure to be rat possum race and if you snooze 'til February 19, 2009, you'll royally lose.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]