Jun 12, 2009 | 8
Today marks the deadline for broadcasters throughout the United States to switch their signals from analog to digital, a move that's been debated, decried and delayed by the government, broadcasters and viewers alike.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has heavily promoted the switch to digital TV, with acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps encouraging the move by pointing out that the transition will allow stations to provide more free over-the-air channels than the single channel they've been using under the analog system.
Still, even after Congress delayed the cutover date from February 17 to June 12 in order to give viewers without cable, satellite or digital televisions more time to buy and install a digital converter box, an estimated 2.8 million American households, or 2.5 percent of the television market, are "completely unready" for the transition, according to the Nielsen Company.
Feb 13, 2009 | 2
Some 500 television stations across the country have alerted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that they plan to switch from analog to digital signals next week, four months shy of the official new deadline. But the FCC has nixed the requests of 123 broadcasters pending proof that viewers won't be left in the dark – specifically that they will still be able to tune into local news and public affairs programming and to receive info in the case of an emergency.
The FCC in a statement said it gave thumbs down to the 123 stations, insisting that "early termination poses a significant risk of substantial public harm" in their viewing areas. The reason: they're all in markets in which all of the network affiliates are asking to switchover early, which would leave viewers without digital TVs, digital-TV converter boxes or cable or satellite service without television service. "Even if independent or non-commercial stations remain on the air in these markets," the FCC said, "we still considered these areas at risk," because they don't have the coverage of the major networks.
Jan 28, 2009
In a surprising defeat, House Republicans today beat back legislation pushed by President Barack Obama that would have delayed the transition from analog to digital television broadcasting by four months.
The move comes just a day after the Democratic-controlled Senate unanimously passed a measure to delay the switchover from February 17 to June 12 to give the 6.5 million U.S. households (according to The Nielsen Company) that don't have digital TV sets time to buy converter boxes.
Broadcasters had opposed the delay, complaining it would cost an estimated $22 million to continue airing shows in both analogue and digital for an additional four months. To assuage them, the bill would have allowed stations to make the change before the new deadline if they permitted public safety agencies to use the vacant airwaves as soon as it became available. (Congress in 2005 voted to switch broadcast signals from analog to more efficient digital to free up so-called "white spaces," areas of unused wireless spectrum, for commercial wireless services and interoperable emergency-response networks.)
Jan 27, 2009
Despite a year of warnings that television was going digital, consumers are not ready to make the transition, according to President Barack Obama and telecom officials. So the Democratic-controlled Senate unanimously passed a measure yesterday that would push back the switch from analog to digital TV broadcasts to June 12, giving the 6.5 million U.S. households (according to The Nielsen Company) unable to receive digital TV programming a chance to buy converter boxes. The House is set to approve the legislation today.
Among the reasons for the delay: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) ran out of $40 coupons it was distributing to offset the $50-to-$70 cost of buying a device to convert traditional analogue TVs to digital. Nearly 2.6 million viewers had to be put on a waiting list for the coupons, the Associated Press reports. People with digital TVs, who subscribe to digital cable service or have satellite dishes don't have to worry about getting a converter or taking any other steps when the change takes effect.
Jan 9, 2009 | 15
Lovers of analog TV may get a reprieve from the scheduled February 18 transition to digital television. President-elect Barack Obama wants to delay next month's nationwide transition, arguing that there isn’t enough money to back the program.
As of now, February 17 is the last day that broadcasters will be allowed to transmit analog signals. But Congress, which signed off on the switch to DTV four years ago, has temporarily run out of coupons for people to buy discounted converter boxes that translate digital signal transmissions to analog sets, according to The New York Times. Nearly 19 million of the coupons have been redeemed, but more than one million more requests are on hold. (The coupons are for $40, and basic converters cost about $50, the Times notes.)
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