Nov
14
2008

  I Ordered My DTV Converter Box

I applied for my dtv converter box government coupon sometime in September or October, and the coupon arrived while I was on vacation, so it was in the big pile of held mail delivered today.

It's not really a coupon, it's more of a gift card, very official-looking with a an eagle security hologram on the front. The coupons are only good for 90 days after the government mails them to you, and I didn't want to forget to order my box so I just took care of it tonight. Everyone can apply for two coupons, but we just have one analog TV so I only applied for one. The TV is currently in the guest bedroom, and I'm not going to buy a new TV just for occasional use in there. But it is worth a few dollars to me to get the converter box so I don't have to dispose of the TV when everything goes digital in a few months, since it will be convenient to have a second TV in the house for the rare occasions that Terry and I want to watch something different at the same time. It's only happened a couple of times since we moved to VA, primarily when Terry is interested in some sporting event while I prefer to watch a show. But he doesn't watch sports that often, just playoffs usually, so it hasn't been much of an issue.

I did a little research, read a few online reviews (CNET has a good basic review), and decided on the Dish Network ATSC TR-40CRA. I ordered through a website I haven't used before (solidsignal.com) since this particular model is not available at many of the more common retailers. The company is on the government's list of coupon-eligible retailers, so I figured it would be fine. I've got to pay $8.96 for shipping, but it's otherwise free since I used my $40 government coupon.

It's significantly more convenient for me to just order online and pay shipping than to try and find the model I want somewhere in town. Plus I've got the 24 mile roundtrip just to get to town, which is about $14 at the IRS mileage rate. So if I'm not going into town for another reason (or I won't have time to shop if I am), then paying $5-10 for shipping generally seems to me like a very reasonable option. Not to mention the hour of travel time I avoid, plus whatever time I'd have to spend in the store locating the item and checking out. Farm life would have been much less convenient in the olden days before online shopping. It was actually less convenient just a few years ago before we could get pizza delivered out here. Now it's great!