Wednesday, February 4, 2009

DTV Is Postponed, Partly

The United States is not quite ready to pull the plug on analog television broadcasts. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates broadcasting, had cautioned Congress that the country was not ready for the scheduled February 17 conversion. The Senate and House Democrats agreed in principle more than a week ago to delay the transition until June. But there were glitches in the process, and it took until now to get a bill passed.

The original DTV Delay Bill passed the Senate unanimously but was defeated in the House. The Senate put together a new bill with technical corrections, and that bill passed the House minutes ago. The bill allows television stations until June 12 to discontinue their analog television broadcasts.

Not all stations will wait until June. About 200 are expected to drop their analog signals on February 17 to save the costs, around $100 a day, for the electricity to drive the transmitters. Nearly all are already broadcasting in DTV.