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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Congress approved a delay of digital conversion, to June 12

Congress approved, yesterday (February 4, 2009) morning, a delay of mandatory conversion of US television broadcasts from February to June 12. The House voted 264 to 158, H.R. 681, the Digital Television Transition Extension Act of 2009.

Nielsen Company, the premier company of audience tracking, estimated that 6.5 million homes lack the conversion device.

As reported by PBS, advocates on the issue of broadcast television access argue that the people that do not yet have the access boxes are low income, elderly or minority.

Click here for the podcast of the PBS News Hour broadcast on the conversion delay.

Cong. Maxine Waters of California gave these arguments for extension:
“Yes, it would be great if everyone had received their coupons, and if everybody understood the transition to digital, but they don’t,” Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, said Wednesday during the House’s debate. She said that some people, senior citizens in particular, were going to be “terribly inconvenienced.”

Some people will need to get an antenna to strengthen their reception of the digital broadcast signal. As I recommended in a previous post, see this link at antennaweb for an assessment of your location in relation to stations' transmitters.

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