Congress Delays Digital Switch - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Congress Delays Digital Switch


The House has voted to delay the transition to digital television.

The nationwide switch that had been scheduled to happen February 17, 2009, is now set for this summer. The bill was passed because of concerns that millions of people were still unprepared.

Local TV stations will now be allowed to keep their analog transmitters until June 12, four months later than originally scheduled.

What does this mean for Lubbock viewers?

Cable and satellite television customers will not be affected by the change. Viewers who view local stations through satellite or cable are already prepared.

People who use an antenna to receive over the air signals will need a converter box by February 17, to ensure continued reception of all Lubbock stations.

A delay had passed in the Senate, but was defeated by House Republicans last week. That vote happened on a special fast track procedure, that requires a two-thirds majority. Wednesday's vote was a regular floor vote, and required only a simple majority, which the bill received.

The delay gives people more time to buy digital converters for their older TV sets.

People who use an antenna to receive over the air signals will need a converter box to prevent their screens from going black when the transition takes place.

Millions of elderly, disabled and low income viewers still do not have the converters.

A government program to give people forty dollar coupons to help buy converters ran out of money last month, leaving millions on a waiting list.

GOP Leaders argued the delay would cause problems for wireless companies and public safety agencies waiting to use the vacated airwaves. They also said more time will not fix the problems.

"If you don't know the date is coming up you probably aren't watching television," said Rep. Roy Blunt (R), Missouri.

get more -- Web Enhanced
The Big Switch - Countdown to DTV
Learn more about DTV, HDTV, converter boxes, Q&A with the Video Guru and much more.

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