I was around when UHF was introduced. You are missing the point I have been trying to make the past two months. UHF was introduced but the EXISTING VHF stations we were watching DID NOT go off the air. One did not have to install a converter to continue watching TV. To this date (50+ years later) you can still receive those VHF stations on your TV and NO need to have a UHF converter or UHF TV. This is different, the DTV tuners have only been mandatory in TVs sold from 2007 on. The EXISTING stations are going off the air too soon. It's a MAJOR change the American public will not accept. If I bet any amount of money on the delayed shutdown it would be like stealing your money. Lets keep it at a beer.
Sam -- I'm older than you, and I have vivid memories of the FM radio spectrum changeover, when my father had to buy a converter to continue to receive FM broadcasts. There were NO coupons given out to assist people who had invested in radios that had FM tuners. If you wanted to receive FM broadcasts, you bought a converter or replaced your radio. Period. This is a better comparison to the digital transition than the introduction of UHF TV. As with the digital transition, it affected a relatively small part of the general population. Granted, commercial FM broadcasting was relatively new and not in widespread use. However, as is the case with DTV vs. analog TV, it was a significant improvement over the existing (AM) broadcasting. Fast forward to today, and FM is by far the most widely listened to radio broadcast medium.
The American public WILL accept the changeover. Get over it. If you are concerned about a widow who depends upon OTA television and will require an outdoor antenna in order to receive it, help her. If she's a member of the AARP and reads her monthly newsletter, she'll be aware of the transition. If she watches TV, she'll be aware as well, because she will be bombarded with PSA's (Public Service Announcements) about the transition. Rather than being a naysayer, become a messenger. Get the word out to your neighbors, fellow mall walkers and church members. They will thank you.
As an aside, I receive digital TV both OTA and via cable. My outdoor antenna is UHF only, so I don't receive one of the regional PBS stations OTA. However, I receive all seven TV networks with that antenna. Two TV receivers in my home have ATSC tuners. The others do not. However, I do have an ATSC tuner I bought on clearance at Radio Shack a few years ago, and it does a great job, having standard RCA outputs, S-video, component and HDMI outputs as well as digital and analog audio outputs.
Te coupon program, in my opinion, is generous in offering two coupons per household. More than two would be overkill. It's not designed to convert every TV in a household that has, say, 5 or 6 TV's (one in the living room, one in the kitchen, one in mom and dad's bedroom and one in each kid's room). Rather, it provides the ability to continue to receive television broadcasts on a few sets in the home. If you have more than two TV's, in all likelihood you can afford to buy additional converter boxes at the $50 price.
Family Room: Sony KDFE-55A20 55" LCD RPTV; Yamaha RX-V663 AVR. Paradigm speakers - Focus fronts, CC170 center, PDR-8 subwoofer, Atom surrounds, ADP rear center; TiVoRoamio Plus, LG BH200 HD DVD/Blu-ray player via HDMI to AVR
Bedroom: Vizio 42" 3D TV, Pioneer VSX-521-K AVR, Panasonic 3D DVD player, Energy Take Classic 5.1 speakers, Roku 2 XD, TiVo Premiere, Insignia HD radio tuner, Toshiba HD DVD player