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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 Amazon.com 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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Comments (33)

At the risk of sounding hea... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

At the risk of sounding heartless here, there's a lot of folks who will NOT change unless they're forced to - no matter how long a changeover period is allowed.

Turn on the digital transmitters, keep the analog ones going for one week with a static image - "You gotta change, here's the number to call for info. No more analog broadcasting in: (insert countdown timer here.)"

The government can't do everything for everybody. At some point THE USER will have to make the call.

"Obama was worried that t... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

"Obama was worried that the government had not provided sufficient financial and technical assistance to aid citizens with the switchover."

I imagine networks are worried about losing advertising revenue.

Folks should also be aware ... (Below threshold)
John:

Folks should also be aware of R. Gerard Salemme, a supporter (gave big bucks) and DTV advisor to Obama, and VP of Clearwire. Clearwire apparently would benefit from any delay so that it can finalize it's rollout of 4G services.

Change? Or is it politics and business as usual for Obama?

DTV Conflicts of Interest

Extending the deadline seem... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Extending the deadline seems pointless unless more money is appropriated for converter boxes. Doing only the extension demonstrates Democrat's dysfunction and lack of leadership by the Obama administration.

After 8 years of defending Bush it's wonderful to be able to blame everything on the Democrats and the failed policies of the Obama administration.

I know its past the deadlin... (Below threshold)
epador:

I know its past the deadline and all, but could we delay the inauguration until June or so. I just haven't had time to adjust my BS converter from Republican to Democrat.

There are an estimated 113.... (Below threshold)
DJ:

There are an estimated 113.3 million households in the US with TVs. Of those, 64.7 million have cable, and 30.3 million have satellite.

This leaves 18.3 million with neither.

The converter rebates were for 40 bucks, and 1.3 billion has been burned through already. How much is the overhead on this program? At 40 bucks a pop, 1.3B was enough for over 30 million converter rebates.

Another problem, on top of ... (Below threshold)
BluesHarper:

Another problem, on top of what has already been mentioned, is that the democrats are worried that they will loose their daily brainwashing device which has done such a wonderful job at ensuring the hatred for Bush and love for "change". How else can the democrats give (hand) people their opinions? Switching to (talk) radio will never do.

Doing only the extension... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Doing only the extension demonstrates Democrat's dysfunction and lack of leadership by the Obama administration.

The Senate on Monday voted unanimously...
The Senate on Mond... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
The Senate on Monday voted unanimously...

I'm just using the Barney Frank standard. When asked about his extensive role in the subprime mortgage mess his only response was that the Republicans were in control. No fact about his votes or those of other democrats were relevant because they were not in control. Well, now the democrats are in control and they will be judged by their own standards. If they wanted fair treatment they should have gave it.

DJ -"At 40 buck... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

DJ -

"At 40 bucks a pop, 1.3B was enough for over 30 million converter rebates."

I figure 200% over the amount of the actual rebates. 18 mil households, but there's likely two TVs in each, so you're looking at two boxes, so there's about $1.84 billion right there. Double that for administrative costs, warehouse space, amortized product development, supplier kickbacks, contract cost overruns, legal fees, shipping and handling, office and furniture rental, IT services, jobs retraining for displaced workers when the program ends, and you're looking at an easy $5.5 bil before it's all said and done.

But hey, it's not like it's REAL money, right?

They ought to just go ahead and cut off the analog. $40? So someone will have to do without two cases of cheap beer... they'll decide what's more important to them!

The above commenter is corr... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The above commenter is correct. There is money going to some politicians including Obama. Barry was asked to delay this conversion a few months. Now it has been.
Why, with all the economic problems facing this country plus wars are the senate expediting television problems?

Why was the first excuse I heard for the delay because the new FCC appointees have not had a chance to get up to speed.

This is politics at its worst and Obama lead it. ww

Have none of you any shame?... (Below threshold)
BPG:

Have none of you any shame? The peoples' constitutional right to 50+ channels was on the verge of being violated but thanks to the quick reaction of Congress that has now been put off until June. I wonder what else Congress can put off during this session? My retirement by another 20 years, perhaps?

I took my antenna of the ro... (Below threshold)
tyree:

I took my antenna of the roof years ago. No cable, no satellite. We get all of our entertainment from DVD's and the internet, and our news from the local (libertarian) paper. The left wing took over television and they can keep it. I wont have their hate piped into my home.

Will Al-Arabiya be going di... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Will Al-Arabiya be going digital at the same time?

Hello, personal responsibil... (Below threshold)
ArmyReserveWife:

Hello, personal responsibility. You won't die without television. We do not intend to buy a new tv until our old ones die and will not get a box. We will lose tv once it goes. And we will be fine.

Hello, personal responsi... (Below threshold)
John:

Hello, personal responsibility. You won't die without television. We do not intend to buy a new tv until our old ones die and will not get a box. We will lose tv once it goes. And we will be fine.

Absolutely...in fact, instead of televisions, we are looking to buy more bookshelves to expand our library.

Absolutely...in fact, in... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Absolutely...in fact, instead of televisions, we are looking to buy more bookshelves to expand our library.

Reading? How radically subversive. Freak!

The converter rebates we... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

The converter rebates were for 40 bucks, and 1.3 billion has been burned through already. How much is the overhead on this program? At 40 bucks a pop, 1.3B was enough for over 30 million converter rebates.

For one thing, the rebates were available to anyone who requested them.

I wont have their hate p... (Below threshold)
Clay:

I wont have their hate piped into my home.

Yes. That's where I'm at, and am gently edging my wife in that direction. The day we blow up the TV will be a good day. And, no, I don't listen to talk radio either. We read, play board games, and *gasp* interact as a family.

Interesting observation: There was a time when a man (or woman) could only suppose to be educated if he'd read the Bible, Greek and Roman philosophy, and the Constitution of the United States. These are now regarded as elective reading, and are deemed largely irrelevant. Are we better for it or have we lost something?

I'm just using the Barne... (Below threshold)
Brian:

I'm just using the Barney Frank standard. When asked about his extensive role in the subprime mortgage mess his only response was that the Republicans were in control. No fact about his votes or those of other democrats were relevant because they were not in control.

But you don't buy that standard, so let's use your standard. You want to consider the votes of the minority (esp. Frank) as complicit in acts passed by the majority. The minority can be no more complicit than when they're unanimous. You seem to think you're making a point by singling out a lone senator, but the votes that Frank participated in were not unanimous.

It's all about giving a con... (Below threshold)
glenn:

It's all about giving a contributor time to deploy new technology.

Obama was worried ... (Below threshold)
Obama was worried that the government had not provided sufficient financial and technical assistance to aid citizens with the switchover.

Oh, please. The first DTV deadline, as you all remember, was 2006 (!). What have they been doing for the past three years? The first commenter on this thread had it right: after all this time, if you're not ready, you're not going to be ready in 6 months, or 6 years. Flip the switch now.

I suspect that some politically-connected person, group, or business, will somehow be making money in the delay, which is what's really driving this.

"Obama was worried that the... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

"Obama was worried that the government had not provided sufficient financial and technical assistance to aid citizens with the switchover."

Sometimes, technical advances with ample notice, coupled with artificial intelligence can not overcome common human stupidity.

Our country has become a place where we cater to the lowest common denominator. Obama is striving for a country of idiots, who think only the government and social programs can care for them.

And if you think catering to their TV needs is as bad as it gets; just wait a few years.

A telecommunications compan... (Below threshold)

A telecommunications company has confirmed for that its vice president for policy--who is also an Obama donor and a former lobbyist--is advising Barack Obama's transition team on telecom policy.

Obama's transition team, which has failed to disclose this executive's involvement, happens to have proposed a significant change in telecom policy that will profit that very company, called Clearwire.

By pushing to delay the long-scheduled transition of television broadcasting from analog signals to digital signals, president-elect Obama is directly aiding Sprint and its partner Clearwire while hurting Verizon.

http://www.rightklik.net/

As I said, Eneils, OregonMu... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

As I said, Eneils, OregonMuse - pull the plug and let folks figure it out. The excuse 'government has to help those who can't figure it out' is a crock.

What's coming down the pike? A massive program of education in how to use toilet paper properly? Seminars on light switch operation? Door opening and closing tutoring? Advanced toilet flushing?

I'd better shut up now - or who knows WHAT might be in the next pork bill!

You want to consid... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
You want to consider the votes of the minority (esp. Frank) as complicit in acts passed by the majority.

My standard would be for Barney and the democrats to take responsibility for their votes, policies, and involvement in orchestrating the subprime mortgage mess. A disaster that had its genesis under Carter and grew strong under Clinton. The democrats rejected any such responsibility in favor blaming it all on Bush and republicans based on the sole fact that they were in charge for 6 of the past 8 years.

Those in charge are at fault; that's the standard democrats must now live by. Another standard Obama must live by is the Michael Moore standard, which is that if you tell the public something that turns out the be false then it's a lie even if you believed it was true when you said it.

I received a coupon to get ... (Below threshold)
BluesHarper:

I received a coupon to get the converter but I thought I could wait until I needed it. WRONG! The coupon expired before I got a chance to use it. So I checked around and found out that once that coupon expired that was the end. No more coupons to this household - (I had 2 coupons). I bet I'm not the only one this has happened to.

EpadorI love it!<br ... (Below threshold)
Greg:

Epador
I love it!
BS Converter (snort)

BluesHarper -Make... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

BluesHarper -

Makes me wonder what happened to the 'money' represented by those coupons. $80 in tax money (or more) and it... went 'poof'?

I have never seen so much c... (Below threshold)
twest:

I have never seen so much crying and whineing from so many unamericans, obama has only been in office a week or so and already you imbiciles are condemming him for caring about the people who may not be able to afford the change. those of you who don't want the change,... why did you have a TV to begin with Dumb bas....d's
depp=true
notiz=Would you like cheese with that?

barama had to postpone the ... (Below threshold)
kepa poalima:

barama had to postpone the switch to digital because most of the people affected by the switch are barama voters and he knows they aren't smart enough to figure out what it means and what to do about it.

I agree: switch it now. Fo... (Below threshold)

I agree: switch it now. For the commenter who let their coupons lapse: the letter that came with the coupons stated plainly that they would expire in 90 days. I'm sorry you didn't read that, but why should everyone else be punished? What's next? Delays to allow time to put up new antennae? Give us a break. I've got an extra converter, because after we got ours, we had to replace one of our televisions. I'm sure one of my kids is going to be screaming for one soon. They don't read if they don't have to since they left home.

Denise - What? Rea... (Below threshold)
BluesHarper:

Denise -

What? Read the instructions? hahahahaha

I guess I could try that - what a concept.

So how many other people got nailed and what did happen to that money. I missed the boat, but like you said, why should others have to suffer. If I didn't get one then someone else should have - I hope.




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