The whole DTV racket continues to drive me crazy. This quote from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's page on the swap is a small part of why it does.

[FAQ Question Number] 10. I have a handheld or battery-powered TV. Will this work after February 17, 2009? Can I connect it to a TV converter box?
[Incredibly Helpful Answer:] Generally not.

Add to that sort of attitude the list of questions showing they darn well realize any number of people are going to have a hard time applying, from their guess that the converter boxes for current TVs are going to cost more than the amount of the coupons they're handing out to the much more real problem that older folk are going to have a hard time applying.

Now add to that the bright idea that only 33.5 million of the $40 coupons to buy $50-70 converters are going to be given out, and that folk can request two. So that means that the government may only be giving converters out to 16.7 million TV owners. The first 22.25 million are available to anyone regardless of whether they use cable and never bother with over the air TV. There's nothing that checks for income, nothing that restricts two-thirds of the coupons from hitting houses that don't need them, and what I'd imagine will be pretty questionable enforcement that the final 11.25 million go to people who truly solely use over-the-air broadcasts for their TV watching.

Add to that that people who don't need converters -- they have HD TVs or DVD recorders with ATSC tuners -- are going to use these coupons to buy converters that they can sell. It's going to happen.

Why the government sold their constituents down the proverbial river to pull in a little more revenue is beyond me. Seriously, there's no reason they couldn't have kept UHF, broadcast hybrid analog+digital signals, and only sold off the VHF wasteland. There are real reasons to want to be able to access TV, and putting so many more barriers to entry for those with legacy TVs is a horribly short-sighted idea that doesn't even try to protect the rights of the minority. The airwaves belong to the collective. The interests of the minority to hear weather alerts and other emergency information should not be treated so casually by the majority or exploited by the capitalistic special interests.