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Republicans introduce bill to keep DTV transition on schedule

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 26 Jan 2009 23:57 User comments (8)

Republicans introduce bill to keep DTV transition on schedule As Senate Democrats have worked hard to pass the legislation requested by President Obama to postpone the DTV transition until June, Republicans have been working on legislation of their own. Today a bill was introduced by Congressman Joe Barton of Texas that would provide an additional $250 million to the DTV voucher program. The program, which provides voucher cards to be redeemed for up to $40 toward a DTV converter, is currently slated to provide $1.34 billion to consumers.
The problem, according to the bill's authors, is that all the money set aside for DTV vouchers is currently tied up. Even though just over half has actually been spent through voucher redemption for converter boxes, the remaining amount is already committed to others still in circulation. As it currently stands new vouchers can't be sent out until those expire, freeing up the necessary funds.

They also point out that this may not even cost any additional money in the long run as it's possible $250 million worth of vouchers may go unredeemed by the program's end. By authorizing the additional funds now they say there would be no need to postpone the transition, avoiding any delay in turning over portions of the broadcast spectrum currently used for analog TV to public safety personnel and wireless internet providers.

Even assuming this course were chosen over postponement, it remains to be seen if converter box supplies would be sufficient to satisfy the increased demand. It wouldn't be the first time converters were hard to find.

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8 user comments

127.1.2009 0:19

Nevermind the fact that the entire country is in an economic crisis, lets worry about the important things like digital vs analog.

227.1.2009 1:51

haha! i was thinking the same thing! $250m could be spent on so much more like corporate jets n such! i mean we have to remember that there are corporate Americans needing jets to Hawaii n stuff after they get their bailout!

327.1.2009 3:45

Good for Republicans...FINALLY! ;-)

427.1.2009 9:44

I will have to put up a tower to receive more than one channel with digital TV. With analog TV I can receive about 8 channels. The next thing that will happen is that a new converter box will be required that will be pay per view.

527.1.2009 10:59

The messed up the campaign by putting Converter Box commercials on cable tv. Bunch of idiots. The commercials shoud say "if you have rabbit ears on your tv, or an antenna on your roof, you need this. If you have cable or sat tv, then you are fine." done.

627.1.2009 13:31

Only 2% of the US population was not prepared for the analog cut-off. That does not seem like a sufficient reason to incur the high cost of a postponement.

728.1.2009 8:38

Originally posted by wdtv:
The messed up the campaign by putting Converter Box commercials on cable tv. Bunch of idiots. The commercials shoud say "if you have rabbit ears on your tv, or an antenna on your roof, you need this. If you have cable or sat tv, then you are fine." done.
in indiana, they did pretty much say that.

86.2.2009 12:42

Thanks to the Democrats for another nightmare
In many areas of the country TV stations are already in the middle of their final engineering transition. Some are operating at reduced power on their Analog or temporary digital channels as they finish construction of the transmitter for their permanent digital channel. Some have even had to shut down the temporary digital channel that was forced on them by our government in order to finish their permanent digital facility. Many stations and their viewers are experiencing severe interference problems as a result of digital transmitters located too close to older analog stations. Now we have stations with new transmitters that they can't turn on without interfering with even more stations in neighboring areas. As a result all of us will have to suffer for 3 month for the benefit of that small percentage of people who will still procrastinate until after the last minute.

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