Main | Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Digital TV Transition Delayed

After months and months of nonstop annoying ads warning us about the switch to digital television, the Senate yesterday approved a bill to delay the transition until June. Because they're out of money to pay for the converter boxes.
The Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday to postpone the digital television transition until June 12. The deadline for all broadcasters to switch from analog to digital signals was originally set to take place Feb. 17. Concern for the 6.5 million television viewers that the Nielsen Co. says are technically unprepared for the transition to take place in February prompted both legislators and President Barack Obama to support extending the deadline.

"Delaying the upcoming DTV switch is the right thing to do," Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va. and author of the Senate bill, said in a statement. "I firmly believe that our nation is not yet ready to make this transition at this time." The four-month delay would give the Federal Communications Commission time to address its overextended coupon program. Earlier this month, the $1.34 billion program to subsidize the cost of digital converter boxes ran out of money and $40 coupons with some 2.5 million people still on the waiting list. Digital converter boxes, which cost between $40 and $80 and translate digital signals back to analog, are necessary for some viewers' older television sets to continue working after the transition.

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