The government is now taking applications for the coupons at dtv2009.gov. The coupons can be redeemed at more than 14,000 local stores, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Kmart, RadioShack, Target, and Wal-Mart.
Coupons will be mailed out starting in February and should be used before February 17, 2009, when over-the-air analog transmissions will finally go dark.
The boxes are primitive, but that's by design; the government has no interest in subsidizing the purchase of snazzy new home electronics, so the devices perform only basic conversion and have limited output options. Still, for those who 1) don't want to pick up cable or satellite service and 2) don't want to buy a new TV, it will soon be the only way to keep the programs coming.