Congress Passes Digital TV Delay Bill

By Admin on January 27, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

After defeating the bill earlier, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to pass a law that will delay the nationwide switch of over-the-air television signals from analog to digital -- from the original February 2009 deadline to a new date in mid-June. So, U.S. households receiving over-the-air (as opposed to cable/satellite) television signals will have about four extra months to prepare before the switch to digital takes place.

According to the FCC's special website, when the switch does take effect, "Consumers who rely on antennas (including outside antennas and 'rabbit ears') to receive over-the-air broadcast signals on TV sets having only analog tuners will need to obtain separate digital-to-analog set-top converter boxes to watch over-the-air TV. These boxes receive digital signals and convert them into analog format for display on analog TVs."

President Obama is expected to sign the Digital Delay Bill, which puts the signal switch on hold until June 12, 2009 (it had been scheduled to take place on February 17). Reuters reports that "Obama supports the delay, sharing concerns that 20 million mostly poor, elderly and rural households were not ready for the congressionally mandated switch."

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