Senate votes to delay Digital TV switch, goes to House

Posted by Rick C. Hodgin

Washington (DC) - Yesterday, the Senate voted unanimously to postpone the upcoming analog to digital TV switchover by nearly four months, to June 12, 2009. The bill now goes to the U.S. House where it must also pass. A floor vote is currently scheduled for today.





The author of the bill, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (Democrat, West Virginia) said, "Delaying the upcoming DTV switch is the right thing to do. I firmly believe that our nation is not yet ready to make this transition at this time."



The House Commerce Committee Chairman, Henry Waxman (Democrat, California) has vowed to work with House leaders to bring the bill to a vote today. The Senate bill gives broadcast stations a the choice. They can either switch from analog to digital before the deadline, or wait until the day of the deadline.



As of last Wednesday, approximately 2.6 million coupon requests are on a waiting list with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is currently under-funded for the coupon program.



President and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Paula Kerger, has estimated that this delay will cost public broadcasters $22 million.


This ability for each station to choose its switchover date has introduced some new concerns as well because some stations may make the switch while others do not. This could potentially require a complicated procedure just to switch between local channels because some of them will require a digital converter box while others require normal, pass-through analog.





Opinion



I think this entire analog-to-digital switch has been botched from the get-go. There's no way it will end well, the only thing they could've done to save face was to end it sooner rather than later - and now they've failed at that too.



I seriously wonder sometimes who exactly it is our government is working for because it surely doesn't seem like its for the people.





The Opinion expressed in this article is solely that of the author.