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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Four More Months to Digital TV Switchover

Yesterday, Congress approved a bill delaying the digital TV switchover until June 12th. While the bill next goes to President Obama, he supports the motion and will pass it.

Originally scheduled for February 17th, the digital switchover - when it does take place - will phase-out analog signals in place of digital. If you are a cable or satellite subscriber, you need do nothing; only those who still watch analog TV - the basic networks (and PBS) - need converter boxes. While the federal government offered coupons allowing people to get said boxes for basically free, a lot of people hold expired coupons. Worse, the government ran out of them some time back!

"We believe it is irresponsible to ask mostly rural, or elderly consumers to reach into their own pockets to deal with this transition when many folks, including the federal government, are making a profit." - Joel Kelsey, Consumers Union

Many Republicans opposed the delay, saying it would only add to the confusion; Democrats were concerned for the elderly and citizens of rural areas. While stations can go ahead and make the switch if they choose, March is sweeps week, so few are expected to do so.

AT&T and Verizon bought most of the airwaves set to be abandoned in an auction which raised nearly $20 billion for the federal government, which plans to bail-out the auto industry, air travel industry, all banks and financial institutions, as well as the pr0n industry. No plans to help the general population or stave-off the almost imminent Depression have been made. Qualcomm vehemently opposed the delay, as it planned to use the vacated airwaves to extend its mobile video service.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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