In case you didn't get the message, all televisions signals will be digital on February 17, 2009. This means that analog sets will need a special antenna. Don't worry, the federal government is on the case. In either a neat-o coincidence or the Federal Communications Commission showing a religious preference, on that date in 1958 Pope Pius XII named Saint Clare of Assisi of the patron saint of television. When she was too ill to go to mass, she miraculously could see it being celebrated on the wall and hear it. There is no patron saint for TV trucks, as far as I can tell.
According to the National Association of Broadcasters, 23 percent of viewers in Minnesota will need to get one of the handy-dandy converter boxes for their old TVs. Each household is allotted two $40 coupons, but viewers might want to act fast before the federal agency responsible for the turnover runs out of money or implodes under the girth of its staggering ineptitude. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is in charge of sending the coupons out, is getting reamed by congress for a complete lack of insight and execution. The Washington Post reports
that the coupons, which expire after 90 days, are being redeemed at low rates in part because some converter models aren't even in stores yet, seriously limiting consumers' options. Oh, well. Use the awesome giant TV truck as a distraction while you wait for your coupons to arrive (via standard US mail, making your 90 days more like 75) so you can scour stores for the limited selection available.
The DTV Trekker, which will travel 95,000 miles by the end of its journey to spread the work of DTV, will be rolling around the Ramsey County Fair at corner of Frost and White Bear Avenue today and tomorrow from noon to midnight and Sunday noon through 9:30 p.m.