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Summary:

On its second try, the House voted today to delay the transition to digital TV until June 12. The vote comes less than two weeks before broa…

imageOn its second try, the House voted today to delay the transition to digital TV until June 12. The vote comes less than two weeks before broadcasters were supposed to turn off their analog signals and move over to digital, reports The Washington Post. The complicated part about the bill is that the delay is voluntary, meaning that broadcasters must turn off their analog signals by June 12, but they can do it any time after Feb. 17, as originally planned.

Once the spectrum is officially vacated, it will be used by public safety services and other companies, which purchased rights to the airwaves last year. AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) first opposed a delay, but then revised their feelings to say that if it was short, it would be OK. The big opponent to the delay was Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM), which is eager for its MediaFLO subsidiary to roll out its mobile TV service nationwide. Qualcomm said a delay could cost the company tens of millions of dollars, not including lost revenues.

The vote is being considered a victory for Obama and the democrats, who pushed to give consumers more time and resources to get ready for the switch. The delay was encouraged by the administration after the government ran out of $40 coupons for the converter boxes. But some Republicans argued a delay would cause further confusion and cost broadcasters money. Early indications are showing that nearly a fifth of the nation’s TV stations plan to switch to digital this month despite the delay. That would represent 300 of the 1,700 stations in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report.

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  1. I don't understand why after all this time people couldn't just buy a digital television. People are not THAT poor.

    After all is said and done as well as the government spends all that money for the $40.00 coupons ultimately those digital to analog boxes will end up in a landfill somewhere and we are talking millions of boxes not Atari E.T. cartridges.

    This whole thing was badly set up and even though, if I tried hard enough I could probably find out if I searched on the web, no one has EVER explained why we need the switch to digital in the first place.

    KP

  2. This is very simple. DTV is not HDTV. DTV does not require an HDTV. Just about every TV built within the last 10 years is already DTV capable. If you have a set that is NOT DTV capable, then spend the $40.00 and get the converter box. I live in an area that has been supporting DTV broadcast for a long time. I get about 30 DTV stations (many of which are HDTV) off the air with a $25.00 UHF antenna I bought at Home Depot.

    The whole point of this conversion is to free up analog airwaves so they may be used by other people. Analog signals take up much more space (up to 8X) than Digital signals. If we eliminate the massive volume of bandwidth taken up by the Analog broadcast then we can expand communications for Emergency Services. Some of the space has already been sold to other communications companies to expand the available products. This will also benefit us in the long-run by giving people more / greater options for various types of communications.

    The same people who are opposing this are probably still driving a Ford Model-T….

  3. It is just like the passport mess, when congress decieded that passports were needed to go to mexico and canada and everyone waited till the last minute to get one. Congress gave over a year notice on passport requirements! If anyone did not get a passport too bad. It should be the same for televisions. People were bomarded with notices on television, in the newspapers and you know what?enough is enough. It should be like tax day. Taxes are due on april 15 (if business day) no and if's or buts. If not filed in time penalties start accumulating.

  4. My concern is that big box stores were fined because they still had analog tuners last year. Is the gov't going to be fined for putting this off another 4 months? They should be…how about taking it out of their retirement funds and repaying back those that were fined to begin with?

  5. "no one has EVER explained why we need the switch to digital in the first place"

    As others have said, Analog signals take up space. A LOT of space.

    A good analogy would be like having bicycle crossing paths in the middle of the freeway, every quarter mile or so. It's unnecessary and takes up a lot of room, slowing down everyone else.

    With that air-space freed up, the city will be able to utilize better emergency service communication. Big companies can buy some of that space, to improve Cell strength and allow for better downloads. Qualcomm has talked about putting TV shows to mobile devices, once the area is cleared up.

    With the switch-over being voluntary now, I wonder if big companies will try to cut their losses (Qualcomm said that they'd be losing millions over the delay) by paying cable companies to volunteer early. hmmmm

  6. Change always disrupts someone. Tires with tubes anyone?

  7. Is this the "change" we can't believe in?

  8. Since the late 1980s, the USA has delayed digital video, 4 or now 5 times, while the rest of the modern world moved on. By the early 1990s, it was a done deal in Japan, Europe, et al. Those countries and others wondered why in the world we adhered to 320 line analog picture. Here it is 2009. I am an OLD man and those countries can still wonder why we do not join the rest of the world in an HD standard. BTW, our digital pic will still be inferior to the standard that the other countries chose.

    But, then, again, we still do not have any digital basic standard of any kind in place. This is an excellent representation of the modern USA "head in the sand" attitude.

  9. "no one has EVER explained why we need the switch to digital in the first place."

    Follow the money: Who's complaining loudest about the June delay?

  10. BRING ON DIGITAL TV, BEEN WAITING FOR A LONG TIME….I GRADUALLY BOUGHT ONE DTV AT A TIME… .AS THE OLD ONES WENT OUT,… TO FIX WOULD HAVE COST MORE,,WITH WALMARTS,INTERNET SHOPPING… WITH WALMART THE REGUALR TV'S HAVE DIGITAL TURNERS,AS THE FLAT PANEL TV'S HAVE DIGTIAL TURNERS…DONT LIVE IN STONE AGE…

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