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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 10, 2008 at 3:12 PM

Microsoft employees help explain digital TV switch at Seattle event

A free public educational session on the Feb. 17 switch to digital broadcasting will be held Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Courtland Place at Rainier Court, 3621 33rd Ave. S., in Seattle.

The event will address over-the-air broadcasts and the converter boxes needed for analog “rabbit ear” televisions to continue receiving signals. It’s not related to the Comcast digital switch affecting cable customers.

Volunteers from Microsoft will help people at the event sign up for the $40 coupons the government is offering to offset the cost of digital converter boxes. Similar events are being held around the country with companies and nonprofit groups pitching in to help the U.S. Department of Commerce explain the switch. The feds’ online info site is www.dtv2009.gov.

There are “approximately 200,990” homes in the Seattle area that depend on over-the-air TV broadcasts, according to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

I bet there will be even more next year as people cut back on cable subscriptions to save money.

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