Analog TV blackout date postponed by Senate

The Associated Press is reporting:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Monday voted unanimously to postpone the upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting by four months to June 12 — setting the stage for Congress to pass the proposal as early as Tuesday.

Monday’s Senate vote is a big victory for the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, who have been pushing for a delay amid growing concerns that too many Americans won’t be ready for the currently scheduled Feb. 17 changeover.

The Nielsen Co. estimates that more than 6.5 million U.S. households that rely on analog television sets to pick up over-the-air broadcast signals could see their TV sets go dark next month if the transition is not postponed.

The report states that converter boxes cost between $40 and $80, but lists most under $60. The Federal Government sponsored a voucher program designed to provide financial assistance to those who couldn’t afford converter boxes, but the Commerce Department has already spent the $1.3 billion originally allocated to the program.

Earlier this month, President Obama urged Congress to extend the deadline. Obama was worried that the government had not provided sufficient financial and technical assistance to aid citizens with the switchover.

MSNBC also notes, “Obama plans to include resources to help viewers through the digital transition in his economic recovery package.”

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