According to the program's Web site, coupons are still available for eligible households. Applications can be accepted online, over the phone, by mail and fax. But because it usually takes nine business days to process and mail coupons, those who apply now will likely not receive their coupons in time for the June 12 deadline. Still, you can submit coupon requests until July 31, 2009 or until supplies run out.
4) Prepare your television for its high-tech upgrade.
Before you start to install the converter box, be sure to unplug your television. The converter box should come with set-up instructions, but you'll need your analog TV, the antenna you've been using (either indoor or outdoor) and the coaxial wire that connects the antenna to the TV. The new converter box will also include a coaxial wire and a remote control.
To watch an ABC News video of step-by-step instructions on how to install a converter box, click here.
If you have trouble while connecting the converter box, go to www.dtv.gov or contact the FCC by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (voice) or 1-888-TELL-FCC (TTY).
Once you've connected the television to the converter box and the converter box to your antenna, plug the converter box and television into a power outlet. After tuning the TV to channel 3 or 4, you can use the remote that comes with the converter box.
Using your remote, choose the "set-up" or "menu" button to navigate to the "channel scan" option. This will allow you to search for the digital broadcast channels that are available in your area. (The owner's manual for your converter box will have more instructions on how to perform a channel scan.)
5) Don't give up if it doesn't work right away.
"It might not be plug and play," Brian Lucas, a spokesperson for Best Buy, told ABCNews.com. "You might need to experiment with that signal."
If it doesn't work immediately, Lucas suggested repositioning the antenna.
Consumer Union's Murray said that most people shouldn't need an antenna upgrade. But if you're more than 25 miles away from a broadcast station it might be necessary.
If you plug your address into Antennaweb.org it tells you the channels that are available in your location and the type of antenna needed for reception.
6) If you upgrade to a new digital television, recycle your old one.
Electronic products are the largest source of lead in municipal solid waste, according to Consumers Union. Older monitors can contain four to eight pounds of lead on average and the plastics that house the sets contain toxic and environmentally-damaging flame retardants.
If older analog sets still work, consider using them for videos, DVDs or gaming. If you must toss them out, check whether your municipality offers electronic waste recycling programs.
7) Finally, act now.
"It's a good idea to take care of this early," Best Buy's Lucas told ABCNews.com. "Setting it up now and getting that digital signal running will allow you to troubleshoot if you have to."