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U.S. Senate Votes to Delay DTV Transition; House to Vote This Week
Jan 27, 2009
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The U.S. Senate unanimously agreed to delay the digital TV transition in the United States from Feb. 17 to June 12. The issue now goes to the U.S. House, where the delay is expected to easily pass. A final vote there could take place at week’s end.

Democrats, including aides to President Barack Obama, have expressed concern that viewers still don’t know which sets do and do not need converter boxes and don’t know how to hook up and program their converter boxes. They also fear there are insufficient help centers available for people having trouble setting up their sets.

There also has been concern that viewers may not know be aware of signal patterns that could make some stations more difficult to see.

Finally, there has been concern from both Democrats and Republicans that not enough money was set aside to help defray the cost of converter boxes needed for TV sets not connected to cable or satellite. The government was issuing up to two US$40 coupons per household, but that money has been used up, so it can only issue new coupons when existing coupons expire. Nearly 2.6 million households are on the waiting list, and those coupons won’t be in consumers’ hands by Feb. 17.

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