NEW YORK, N.Y. (WPIX) -- If you're still confused about the conversion to digital t-v, you may have some extra time to figure it out, that's because the Senate voted Monday to postpone it for four months.  It now goes to the house, which is expected to pass the delay.

Lots of people are trying to figure out what it all means. So, today PIX 11's own Jim Watkins, along with other New York City area T-V news anchors, tried to sort it all out.  They joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg to discuss how New Yorkers can prepare for the nationwide conversion to digital television and how City government can help.

The mandatory switch from analog to digital broadcasting is set to take place on February 17, 2009.  However, Congress is trying to decide if the date should be extended.  While most New Yorkers already use cable or satellite, an estimated 300,000 New York City households do not. They receive television signals exclusively over-the-air, some still using "rabbit-ears." 

Whether or not the deadline is extended, the conversion to digital will happen eventually, and the best thing we can do is to be prepared. City agencies have been reaching out to New Yorkers that may be affected, and 311 is ready to answer questions about the conversion.

"The nationwide conversion to Digital Television will mean a clearer picture and more channels, but some New Yorkers have to take steps to prepare for it and we want to make sure they know what is needed" said Deputy Mayor Lieber.

The alternative to subscribing to a cable or satellite service or upgrading the television is to install a converter box that will change an analog signal to a digital one. Converter boxes can be purchased at many electronics stores throughout the city, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is administering a coupon program to help offset costs for Americans who need to buy the digital converter boxes by offering each household up to two $40 coupons to be used toward the purchase of digital converter boxes. The coupons are good for 90 days.

Presently, NTIA has exhausted funding for the coupons and are awaiting approval for additional funding, but they are still accepting and approving coupon applications. Coupon orders are being filled as thousands of issued coupons expire each week and are then recycled back into the program. New Yorkers should call 311 to be transferred to the NTIA helpline, or they can call it directly at 1 888-DTV-2009.