Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Congress Votes to Delay Digital TV (DTV) Transition

Not ready for the switch to digital TV? Don't worry: the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to delay the switchover to digital TV by four months, until June 12th. The Senate already passed the bill delaying the transition, and President Obama has said he will sign it.

The transition to digital-only broadcasting will now take place on June 12th, 2009. On that date, broadcasters are to turn off their analog TV signals and broadcast only digital signals. The DTV switchover was to take place on February 17th, but a delay was sought to give consumers more time to prepare for the switchover.

The U.S. government has a program that gives each household up to two $40 coupons to subsidize the cost of a digital converter box, but it was announced several weeks ago that the coupon program had run out of money. (Some coupons may still be available since not all coupons previously issued have been have cashed in, and some have expired. You can find out more at

Newer TVs have digital tuners built in and will receive the digital signals, as will older TVs that are connected to a cable or satellite TV programming. Older, non-digital TVs that receive signals over an antenna need a digital converter in order to display the new digital signals.

Although the Congress has approved the delay to digital-only broadcasting, it remains to be seen if the government will make funds available to pay for additional DTV converter coupons.

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