Feds Out of Money for Digital TV Coupons

New applicants must depend on the pain of others whose coupons expire

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The government said new applicants for financial help with buying converter boxes will have to go onto a waiting list. More than 24 million households have requested more than 46 million coupons and more than 18 million coupons have been redeemed.

New applicants will have to depend on the pain of others, whose coupons expire after 90 days. That will free some of the $1.34 billion the government set aside for the program. Expired coupons is an unpleasant surprise awaiting millions who have requested but not cashed theirs.

Nearly 2 million households that rely on broadcast TV haven't even requested financial help. And about half of the coupons requested haven't been used, more reason to anticipate a meltdown when TVs go blank next month.