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Summary:

Members of the House this afternoon failed to pass a bill that would delay the transition from analog to digital television signals by four months. Without House approval, the deadline for the switch stands at Feb. 17. Qualcomm is undoubtedly rejoicing, as it stands to lose […]

Members of the House this afternoon failed to pass a bill that would delay the transition from analog to digital television signals by four months. Without House approval, the deadline for the switch stands at Feb. 17. Qualcomm is undoubtedly rejoicing, as it stands to lose the most from putting the transition on pause.

Prompted by the fear that millions of consumers would see their televisions go black after the transition (Nielsen puts the number at 6.5 million), President Barack Obama and the Senate have been trying to get the transition date pushed back until June. Such a delay would mean those that leased spectrum in the 700 MHz auction (such as Qualcomm, which wants to broadcast its mobile television service), couldn’t use those airwaves.

Qualcomm’s joy may be short-lived, however, as legislation will likely be reintroduced in the House next week with the possibility for amendments. If it does get voted in, Qualcomm may seek an amendment to try to force nine stations in four metro areas to stop analog broadcasts in February rather than in June, which would allow Qualcomm to launch its MediaFLO service. Congress, meanwhile, would turn its focus to finding money to fund a program that will help consumers prepare for the shift.

  1. [...] approval, the deadline for the switch stands at Feb. 17. Stacey at GigaOM has the full story and some analysis. Here are some background links to bring you up to [...]

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  2. Awesome. The delay would be pointless and confusing, and if people haven’t responded to the call to get a box or cable or whatever yet, TV just isn’t that important to them.

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  3. TV is the most important thing that our representatives should be discussing and trying to push a change through? We’ve clearly reached the point where those who haven’t made adjustments will only make them once they are necessary (i.e. not getting a signal). I’m not clear on what the additional months buys anyone and how we increase the chance that everyone will be more prepared than they are right now.

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  4. [...] House of Representatives defeated the bill to delay the DTV transition. For now the transition will still happen on February 17th, 2009. However, an amended bill could be [...]

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  5. [...] House of Representatives defeated the bill to delay the DTV transition. For now the transition will still happen on February 17th, 2009. However, an amended bill could be [...]

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  6. So the Senate wants to coddle those procrastinators, those supposed 6.5 million who have been bombarded with this impending change multiple times every day – IF they have been watching any TV. Thank the House for not going along with this delay. I installed converter boxes for my brother-in-law, and the picture quality NOW is much better – sharper and no ghosts with the antenna on top of the TV.

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  7. ricardo montnog Thursday, January 29, 2009

    Let me get this straight. You selfish people who say screw 5% of your fellow citizens and deny them access to the airwaves THEY OWN as Americans….

    …but you are willing to give banks a trillion dollars so they can pay out billion dollar bonuses after creating this catastrophe without blinking an eye…

    You are ignorant, disloyal, unpatriotic, and fools.

    WE THE PEOPLE own the airwaves. NOT telecoms.

    During this economic catastrophe, it is the WRONG message to isolate and say f-you to 5% of our struggling citizens.

    The delay WILL pass in the form of a special bill (Thank you in advance, Congress) and all of you selfish bastards should try thinking of your fellow citizens for a change. We are entering into a MAJOR depression fools — we need free public information from broadcast television.

    Selfish brainwashed short-sighted fools.

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  8. [...] Both meetings, economically motivated as they were, saw Obama wearing an enterprising greenback-colored, static-patterned necktie.  The color scheme obviously supports the theme of economic stimulus, repair, and recovery that the President supported this week, culminating in yesterday’s meetings.  Neck of State could not immediately confirm speculation that the static pattern is a reference the House’s rejection of his request to delay the transition to digital television. [...]

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  9. Guess what, when June arrives there will still be “millions” of people not ready for the transition. This is just silly. A few days without TV and those who actively ignored the PSAs and screen crawls for YEARS, will finally buy a converter.

    This transition is never going to be issue-free. If you are not ready for this transition today, its likely you are so lazy and entitlement-minded that you will never be ready, unless the nanny state sends a tech to you house to install a free converter box.

    Ricardo, the government routinely screws more that 5% of the population on any number of issues. If 95% ARE ready, that’s success for sure.

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