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.
Nov 5, 2008 | 1
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday gave Google, Microsoft and a number of other tech companies what they wanted by granting free, unlicensed wireless devices access to chunks of unused airwaves on the broadcast spectrum known as "white spaces" (so-named because they provide a buffer between broadcast channels). Critics of the move fear that a flood of wireless devices, unregulated by the FCC, will interfere with TV programming.
The FCC, which voted unanimously 5-0 to open up white space access, said the move will allow "new and innovative" types of wireless devices—next-generation cell phones and computers, for example—to take advantage of faster broadband connections, the key to better managing streaming video and other large data files.
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