The television industry in the States is going through a similar process to the UK, with the TV broadcast signal being updated from analogue to digital.

From February 2009 anyone who does not own a digital set and still gets their programming via over-the-air antennas will no longer receive a picture.

With the latest polls coming in at 51% unawareness for this imminent change, the US government is taking some strong steps, and offering coupon incentives to those who need to purchase equipment in order to make the switch.

Millions of $40 government coupons are now available to help low-tech owners buy special converter boxes for older TVs.

The boxes are expected to cost between $50 and $70 and will be available at major electronics retail stores.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will accept requests for two $40 coupons per household.

Tony Wilhelm, director of consumer education for NTIA, said they have enough coupons to satisfy the requests that will be made: "We think the high number will be 26 million, low end is 10 million".

In the UK the digital switchover started in 2007 and will continue until 2012. There are no government grants to help with the cost of updating equipment.