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Feds Fix Digital-TV Coupon Site

You should now be able to request a $40 digital-TV converter box coupon at without running into any security errors. This morning, Todd Sedmak, the communications director for the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, e-mailed me to say that the configuration flaw I noted in Sunday's Help File had been corrected.

The flaw--a security certificate error that arose if you typed "" into your browser, instead of ","--was criticized at a hearing Tuesday of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) noted the story and asked the NTIA to fix the problem promptly.

(Pryor thoroughly mangled the pronunciation of my last name, giving my colleague Kim Hart no end of amusement.)

By fixing this problem, NTIA has not only avoided confusion among TV viewers, it's also saved newspapers across America vast quantities of ink--we'll no longer need to print the longer "" address. So on behalf of my industry, I offer a heartfelt thanks.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  April 11, 2008; 12:56 PM ET
Categories:  Video  
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Excellent DO you say it?

Peh-GOR-aro? Peh-GO-raro? That WaPost columnist Rob P?

Posted by: BobT | April 11, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I would pronounce it Peg-OH-arr-row, but I'm probably wrong.

Posted by: Miniver Cheevy | April 11, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

To hear my name pronounced the wrong way, fast-forward to the 1:26:05 mark in this RealVideo webcast of the hearing :)

(I don't mean to poke fun at the senator. A lot of people stumble after the first syllable, so many that I've learned to listen for that pause when they figure out what sound to make next.)

Miniver's attempt and BobT's second guess are closer to the correct answer. Or, should I say, answers: My family says it "Peh-go-rare-o," but in Italy you'd say it "Peh-go-rah-ro." Given all the other random renditions I've heard, I can't complain about either of those pronunciations.

It's like what Barry Svrluga always advises about his own moniker: Just say it like it's spelled.

- RP

Posted by: Rob Pegoraro | April 11, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Unless you've had teachers tell you that you are mispronouncing your own name, I don't want to hear it!
-Jeff Y.

Posted by: slar | April 11, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I bought a converter box with a discount coupon and got less channels than with analog TV. It looks like we will have to switch to cable or satellite next year or just quit watching television. I was able to sell our used converter box for $15.

Posted by: TennesseeJim | April 11, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Last year I acquired a HDTV wide screen LCD TV. My neighborhood is on top of a hill in clear view of the mountain where most Roanoke, VA TV stations have their transmitters (within 20 miles as crow flies). Yet I was astonished to find that several stations do not come in digitally -- including PBS. I tried blowing $20 on amplified rabbit ears -- a joke, no change, and only an idiot would think such could improve a binary signal in the first place. I tried moving said rabbit ears upstairs with a long coax cord back to family room -- no change.
Yet last weekend Rob's article reminded me to send off for my 2 coupons for converters the bedroom and kitchen sets. I guess we'll only get CBS and NBC and a few oddball channels there too. But I'll be da**ed if I'm ever buying another digital set. Nor am I shelling $100 for Cable and having the effluence that is today's pop culture piped into my home.

I'm a 40-something guy who remembers with fascination the early 1950's TV set in my great-grandparents living room with the round screen being able to tune in the same shows I'd watch at my house in color, back in the early 70s. When I ponder this boondoggle of digital TV that the buffoons in Rob's neck of the woods have pushed down our throats, I sometimes think back on that round TV. Were that TV still around, the technology of WWII era would still work fine with today's analog broadcasts. When millions of less sophisticated people outside of Manhattan or greater DC or what have you truly discover they're going to be without service for numerous channels, there's going to be a hue and cry across the land. The emperor takes back bread and circuses from the plebes at his own peril, IMHO.

As for me, as you may discern from my earlier remark re pop culture, the fact that the government is making its own propaganda channel obsolete is delicious irony. I personally wish every channel goes black next year -- that's what my DVDs are for.

Posted by: RoanokeDude | April 13, 2008 1:42 AM | Report abuse

RoanokeDude again...

Respecting that old round tv, I should say an analog B&W raster with its couple hundred lines of resolution or whatever is to my eyes infinitely preferable to MPEG-ish digital artifacts or freezing frames when the signal stream is interrupted.
(I similarly sometimes find an old VHS tape more agreeable than DVDs. Dare I mention I have a wind-up victrola...)

To say nothing of the channels which are simply not there in my area, even though the stations trumpet that they have been broadcasting digitally.

Posted by: RoanokeDude | April 13, 2008 1:58 AM | Report abuse

RoanokeDude - Install a roof top antenna. I have a Channel Master 3679 I picked up at Frys Electronics. I installed it quickly and ran a coax cable from into my dtv receiver box I purchased at Radio Shack. I had a friend help me rotate the antenna to an optimal position while I verified the channel reception. I receive 12 channels. Go to to see how close/far DTV antennas are from your house. I am in San Diego, CA, and am on a hilltop, which helps.

Posted by: hdtv4free | April 13, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse


I am curious about this digital TV thing being the only type of TV signal available after Feb. 2009.

At one time it was thought that the government could listen into your home, and possibly see into it as well, through your television set. I think that I remember hearing that it could be done to some small degree and that the information obtained in that manner was virtually useless.

Will everyone having the digital signal coming into, and possibly out of, their TV sets increase the snoop factor to a degree that could be a serious threat to the privacy of anyone having a TV set?

Considering the ever increasing power of the Elites in the United States and their drive to create the New World Order under which we will all have a V-Chip implanted under our skins that emits a radio signal tractable from space eliminating freedom in all respects, it wouldn't surprise me if the government could spy on us through our TV sets.

TV show ratings are determined from signal generators on TV sets that monitor the shows that those sets receive. Why not gather and transmit other information as well?

Food for indegestion,
Joe Hollinger

Posted by: Joe Hollinger | April 14, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Joe: I wonder if you own a cell phone? A vehicle made in the last 10 years?

If so, worrying about your tv signal is silly.

That tv signal can tell snoopers the hours you watch tv and which channels. The cell phone and vehicle's black box hold much more personal data than that.

Posted by: LALA | April 15, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Hi Ron,

Have you heard if the Congress has been given permission for consumers to extend the expiration date of the coupons?

Posted by: tricia | April 15, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Ron, Dude, et al.
LALA is right. Real ID technology and GPS will make your life an open book. Dig out your old VHS tape of "The Net" with Sandra Bullock. Watch that again and laugh at how passe the high tech is now.

Posted by: JWTinTN | April 15, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Why the big push to screw up our existing TV reception? Millions of people are VERY confused, if they heard about it at all. Please walk the perps who thought up this SCAM, so we can see them before our TV sets quit working. Why are the effing coupons only good for 90 days? The only converter box I could find at BestBuy lacks an S-video output. What a racket, just like the banks that are going bust after acting like casinos.

Posted by: Bill | April 15, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

* Joe: You are being just a wee bit paranoid here, my friend. I just checked the last quarterly update the Elites sent to those of us charged with brainwashing the masses, and the V-Chip implantation initiative is still stuck in beta-testing... seems that we've run into interference problems with microwave ovens and cordless phones.

* tricia: Haven't heard of any such move, but I wouldn't be surprised if people in Congress were pushing for one. (BTW, my first name is "Rob"; the irony of my first name getting mangled when it's about 500 percent simpler than my last name is duly noted :)

* JWTinTN: Ah, "The Net." That was good for a laugh or two. All those years I was using ResEdit to change program icons and menu names, and I never realized I could have been hacking into other networks with that app!

* Bill: The backstory of how digital TV came to be is too long for me to relate here (short version being, it began so long ago that one of the original goals was to reinvigorate domestic electronics manufacturing!), but I will try to write up a summary for the blog at some point.

- RP

Posted by: Rob Pegoraro | April 16, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

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