FCC Urges Consumers to Make Sure They're Ready for DTV

With thousands of area households still unprepared for the switch to digital television, the acting head of the Federal Communications Commission urged Southern Californians today to be sure they have the equipment they need to ensure they will not lose TV service on Friday.

"We're down to the final stretch and we hope all Angelenos, and Americans, are ready for the DTV transition," Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said while visiting the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood. "We don't want anyone to be left without important news and information that affects their everyday lives."

Copps said people who have questions about the transition and what they need to ensure they don't lose television service can call (888) CALL-FCC.

The FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration have identified Los Angeles as a DTV transition "hotspot," indicating that a large number of households are still unprepared for the transition, which occurs Friday.

According to the Nielsen media information company, an estimated 862,650 Los Angeles households rely on over-the-air broadcasts for their television service. The company also estimates that about 4.57 percent of the area's 5.65 million households were still unprepared for the DTV transition.

The FCC outlined various resources available in Southern California to help residents prepare for the switch:

-- The National Association for Hispanic Elderly has set up a phone-support line at (626) 564-1988;

-- The Los Angeles Urban League will have information available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays at the Milken Family Literacy and Youth Training Center, 5414 S. Crenshaw Blvd.

The city of Los Angeles' Youth & Family Services Division offices will be open from 2 to 5 p.m. on weekdays to provide demonstrations and information on digital television at the following locations:

-- Bradley/Milken, 1773 E. Century Blvd.;

-- Cypress Park, 929 Cypress Ave.;

-- Lucille Beserra Roybal/Multi-Purpose Center, 1505 E. Eighth St.;

-- Hollywood, 607 N. Vermont Ave.;

-- Pacoima, 11243 Glenoaks Blvd., suite 3;

-- Tom Bradley, 5213 W. Pico Blvd.; and

-- Vera Davis McClendon, 610 California Ave., Venice.

Consumers have until July 31 to obtain $40 coupons that can be used to purchase digital converter boxes. To date, more than 3.4 million people in Los Angeles have ordered the coupons, but only about 1.79 million of the have been redeemed.

The coupons are available by calling (888) CALL-FCC or looking online at www.dtv.gov.

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