Attention, Analog TV Holdouts: You Have Until June 12th

By  |  Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Predicta TVI’m kind of tired of the whole subject, but just in case you haven’t heard and care: The House has passed the bill that delays the digital-TV transition from February 17th to June 12th. If you’ve got any analog TVs bumping around the house that aren’t connected to a digital source, you’ve got slightly under four additional months to (A) buy a converter, (B) supply them with a digital-ready set-top box, or (C)  buy a snazzy new TV.

That is all.

No, wait–part of the reason behind the delay is the mess that is the government’s $40 coupon program for converter boxes–too many people who need the coupons don’t have them. My buddies at consumer electronics info site Retrevo aim to help with a Good Neighbor Coupon Exchange Program. They’re serving as an intermediary to put people with extra coupons in touch with folks who can use them. And they’re also offering a 20-page survival guide for the whole transition.

OK, now that is all. For now, at least…

 
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10 Comments For This Post

  1. NanoGeek Says:

    Pres. Obama still needs to sign the bill though before it will be official correct?

  2. Andrew Eisner Says:

    Correct, but he will. The thing is TV stations aren’t obligated to wait until June 12th. They can go all digital anytime they want. Also the government hasn’t released additional funds to send out more coupons.

  3. NanoGeek Says:

    So I’m guessing then that this bill will have almost no effect? Why would any of the TV stations want to spend that extra money running both digital and analog signals when no one is making them.

  4. tced Says:

    Virtually all TV stations (except the low power ones) are already digital and have been broadcasting digital for at least several years. There is no reason to wait. The digital signals are there. I worked in the industry and have been watching digital TV signals for 10 years.

    Some of the digital stations are on temporary frequency assignments and will move to their permanent assignment after the transition. I don’t know how the change of date affects this frequency change.

    There is a very real economic cost to the station. Some transmitters cost $10k a month to operate and so a station operating in dual (analog/digital) mode will incur extra costs.

    I know of no digital TV that won’t receive analog TV also.

  5. TR Says:

    Attention, analog holdouts: You do *not* have until June 12 to get ready. Be ready now. When it becomes law, the bill extends the drop dead date, the last day full power stations are legally allowed to broadcast analog. There is no requirement that stations keep broadcasting analog until then. In fact, the bill preserves the existing flexibility that allows stations to shut down early.

    Many stations are locked into a Feb 17 shutdown by legal contracts, tower workers scheduled a year in advance, and budgets that don’t include an extra four months of electricity and maintenance. The FCC says stations aren’t required to announce shutdowns on Feb 17, but hundreds have notified the FCC of their intent to shut down analog on the original deadline Feb 17. The bill, if it gets funded, gives viewers 4 more months to request coupons, but the bill does not require analog signals to continue during that extension.

  6. Bill McMinn Says:

    Why does government still sees the need to throw money into the converter box coupons, there are some converter boxes that sell for less than 40 dollars. The free market is now bringing down the cost of converter boxes not some government coupons.

  7. dosequis Says:

    I know that almost all the local stations around me are sticking to the February 17th switchover.

    http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2009/02/05/news/local/doc498a53354e82f960382227.txt

    http://www.omaha.com//index.php?u_page=1208&u_sid=10556347

  8. DaveZatz Says:

    I believe the revised legislation still permits broadcasters to flip the switch prior to June 12th. And I believe this will cause much more disruption than a true hard date. What’s Grandma going to do when some channels come in, but not all? Probably leads to more confusion. I hope all stations pulling the plug on a NTSC simulcast choose to run some sort of repeating PSA or video crawl saying to go buy a converter and call your grandson to help install it.

  9. TR Says:

    My bad. The *bill* doesn’t require analog to stay, but the *FCC* is starting to sound like it won’t let DMAs transition as a group. Stations are back to ground zero having to re-justify and re-file. At least the FCC gave them the weekend.

  10. Tom B Says:

    I don’t watch TV. I have a hand-me-down analog. But, I am VERY pleased with my set top DTV receiver. I can pull in stations I couldn’t pull in before, plus new digital stations, plus crystal clarity (unless a plane flies over). I’m glad I made the switch last summer.

4 Trackbacks For This Post

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