Senate approves delay for DTV transition

Months of "the sky is falling!" news stories have all led up to this: the Senate today voted unanimously to postpone the transition from analog to digital television from Feb. 17 to June 12.

Apparently, according to the Nielsen Co., more than 6.5 million households in the U.S. that rely on analog television - the old-fashioned kind that comes through an antenna, rather than a digital cable box - would be unprepared for the changeover and would lose all television reception if the date were not to be pushed back.

The House of Representatives still has to vote on the bill, where a committee vote has been scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday).

The need to push the transition back a few months became apparent when the government ran out of money to fund coupons for folks who couldn't afford special boxes they could purchase to enable their televisions to still pick up a signal. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Commerce Department agency running the program, has nearly 2.6 million people on waiting lists for coupons. New coupons are only being sent out as old ones that haven't been redeemed expire.

Gene Kimmelman, vice president for federal policy at Consumers Union, said low-income and elderly viewers are the ones who will suffer most from the transition.

The government has failed to deliver the converter boxes these people deserve just to keep watching free, over-the-air broadcast signals.

The boxes cost $40 to $80 apiece and capture the digital signal, transforming it into analog for the old TVs.

The reason the transition was mandated at all in 2005 was to free up space for emergency-response networks and commercial wireless services.

Tags:  Television, DTV
bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

They are just causing more confusion. They should just go now like they were planning.

digitaldd 5 years ago

I guess 3+ years notification and the local tv stations running tests every day is not enough of a warning. Retailers are seeing lots of HDTV returns from these uneducated consumers. people are thinking they need to buya new TV and aren't getting any reception with the $2 set of rabiit ears they have been using to get TV for the last 10-20 years. Some folks are finding that their roof antennas aren't pointing in the right directions as digital signals aren't as omnipresent as analog signals were so there are lots of dead spots even in densely populated cities.

acarzt 5 years ago

It's been known for YEARS that this was coming... People should already be ready. And the government shouldn't have to foot the bill on these converter boxes. If they want their TV they should go out and pay for what they will need to watch it... just like if you want the internet you're gonna have to pay for it.

ice91785 5 years ago

i agree with all the above -- its up to consumers to get themselves ready, not the government....especially with the state of things right now I feel there are more pressing issues than stashing funds away to hand out coupons to uneducated people to be able to watch TV.

What is important? Creating jobs? Solidifying any sort of health insurance program? no no no....definitely need to get some TV coupons out there

Der Meister 5 years ago

eh? somehow is saw this coming. you give the GOV a date and they will pust it like they always do. Infact i bet the Juse 12th date will be moved back in a few months. Im guessing Feb 17 2010 is when it will happen... No

Drago 5 years ago

Bull ***. You guys are full of crap, the gov should give everyone converter boxes, not force people to buy something that they dont need just cause the gov wants to profit off of selling the analog air space. What you fail to realize is that TV is how people get news and information, sure the internet is becoming more popular for the younger crowds, but most people rely on TV for news and weather stuff. Hell when bad weather comes around what do you do, go to the TV and watch, they will interrupt when something is bad in your area.

You kill analog TV, without people being ready, you put more than 6.5 million lives at risk. If anything should happen to these people, you can imagine the lawsuits that would ensue. God forbid a tornado goes through and area and they didnt have a converter box so they didnt get an early warning and died. Broadcast TV is FREE and it should be that way. If the Gov wants to go digital which imo is complete ***, then they should GIVE everyone converter boxes.

There are plenty of EDUCATED people that refuse to pay the insanely high price on some stupid fucking converter box. What i want is the money that the gov is getting for selling off the air space, hell they could buy everyone in the US a converter box for all the TV's in their home with that money and still have plenty left over.

Savage Animal 5 years ago

I was going to say basically what you said Drago, without the doom and gloom. Broadcast T.v. is free, and should remain that way, those who choose not to pay for cable shouldn't be forced to lose t.v. because the gov. decided to ration off some bandwith to the highest bidder. If you were told you had to now pay for a new radio because your old one wasn't going to work anymore would you have the same attitude? I think not, or there would be a hell of alot more then 7 million sattelite radio subsribers.

nelsoncp21 5 years ago

I am sitting on the fence for this 1. I agree with the turnover mainly because certain airway freq are to crowded right now and needed services (lifethreatening ones at that) get the backdoor to companies with deep pockets crowding up these freq. I do think it was a good idea for the govt to give out coupons and many people didn't act on it putting it off till the last minute. Shoot my grandmother has 6 boxes 2 of which aren't even being used and only paid for 1. I do think people had plenty of time to prepare and if they waited till the last minute then shell out the $40. otherwise you'll be listening to the radio which is still free for your news and emergency annoucenments. But if there was just simply not enough coupons for everyone then thats the goverments fault for offering them and not having enough.

tanka12345 5 years ago

I don't really have a side as I'm not in the US. I think its good they're upgrading the technology, although I think that the government could do more to help people transition easily.

Der Meister 5 years ago

^people have known abouy this for at least 2 years, most of the major TV broadcast compaies have been running adds about it for the pasy year. Its just typical though people put off what they can do today for tomorrow.

acarzt 5 years ago

If they are so concerned about the damn weather... look out a window... If it looks like ***, there's gonna be ***. And if they still can't tell the weather is absolutely horrible, they can turn their damn radios on and listen to the weather right then and there. If it's so important it is life threatening, it will definitely be on the radio.

What do people do when their power goes out in bad weather and they can't see the weather on the news on their TV? Oh yea... a battery operated Radio. What an ingenius device.

People need to catch up with the times and stop asking for hand outs. Your television is a privilege NOT A RIGHT. And you are DEFINITELY not going to die without it! People lived for a very long time without such luxuries. Besides, they can still get FREE channels over the air. They just need the convertor box and an antenna to recieve digital channels over the air. Oh and GUESS WHAT?! They had to BUY their TELEVISION in the FIRST PLACE to even watch the channels they are watching now. You can get the converter boxes for $20 plus shipping off ebay. It's not that expensive.


ice91785 5 years ago

[quote user="Drago"]You kill analog TV, without people being ready, you put more than 6.5 million lives at risk. If anything should happen to these people, you can imagine the lawsuits that would ensue. God forbid a tornado goes through and area and they didnt have a converter box so they didnt get an early warning and died.[/quote]

It's a good thing people have eyes and can look out the window for tornadoes there Drago -- not to mention radios and newspapers to keep up on news...

[quote user="Drago"]There are plenty of EDUCATED people that refuse to pay the insanely high price on some stupid fucking converter box[/quote]

The HUUUUUGE sum of $50 for a converter box yes? My good god Drago, you better get off fry detail at McDonalds and get promoted to afford something as huge as this....going along with your above argument if people's lives truely depend on TV I don't feel anyone would have an issue picking one up. Lives are not at stake in this case.

Again consumers were made aware of this years ago and there is absolutley no reason to be unprepared at this point...


...on a semi-related note Drago: can you ever post something here that is non-complaint? Honestly I have just bit my lip for a while and ignored it but you seem to come here to just whine all the time...get over it and put a d@mn smile on your face. Get back to posting about HW and having fun...worry less about dumb stuff (see Vista and DTV transitions)


P.S. Its odd that HH "cuss-word catcher" doesn't catch the word 'F-ing' as you can see above in a previous post

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