U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., chairman of the House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications Technology and the Internet, said he was happy with the status of efforts to move toward digital broadcasting, now scheduled for June 12. The transition is on "a very good path," he said. "I do not anticipate any further problems."
The major broadcast networks reportedly are in favor of a June 12 DTV transition because it will take place following the conclusion of the TV season, when viewership is lower due to reruns and summer activities. The potential postponement from the original Feb. 17 date also is good news for anyone planning to install a new antenna, according to NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton. "It's a lot easier to put an antenna on your roof in June than it is in February," he said.
Backers of a plan to expedite passage of a delay of the mandatory digital transition date were dealt a blow today, as the move failed to garner the required two-thirds majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Republicans opposing the measure managed to gather up 168 nay votes to prevent the extension passing with limited debate and no amendments.
Delaying the transition to all-digital TV signals could hurt a number of industries, including the cable business, according to this report. Comcast, for one, expects to sign up many new customers after the switch because its footprint includes areas with the highest number of unprepared viewers.
President-elect Barack Obama's team has lent its voice to the growing chorus of those looking to delay the Feb. 17 transition to all-digital TV signals. Earlier this week, the government announced it had run out of the coupons that can be used by consumers to buy converter boxes.