Mary Robinson is all about real-world information on the switch to digital television signals. The success of the DTV switch will depend on regular folks understanding new technology and getting it running in their homes. Ms. Robinson is weighing in on those nitty-gritty details, sharing her enthusiasm for TV-signal technology with those who are less technically inclined. She’s developed an expertise through years of hands-on experimentation, pulling in signals from the rooftop of her Texas home. Now she’s a resource for consumers struggling with the digital switch. We discovered Mary right here on TVWeek.com, where she reliably dispensed information in the comments section of this story, First Digital TV Converter Box Wins Government Approval about the digital switch. Let’s keep the conversation rolling!



Digital Transition Answers

The DTV Transition Is Going Through Its Own Transition

January 27, 2009 4:14 PM

With 21 days to go until the transition period is over for the conversion to digital broadcasting, it seems the transition to digital will go through a transition period of its own.

It looks as if the mandated transition date will be pushed back to June 12. It is not official yet, but a compromise was reached between Democrats and Republicans that will allow a vote to pass the bill sometime this week.

Republicans have introduced legislation that will continue to fund the digital converter-box coupon program, which has run out of money. As of last Wednesday, there was a waiting list of 2.6 million requests for the coupons.

Another concern for Republicans was the added cost to television station owners if the transition date were to be moved back. PBS has estimated it will cost public broadcasting stations $22 million in added utility costs, continued rental on transmitters and delays of tower crews if the date is pushed back.

A compromise has emerged, however, to allow stations that want to switch to digital broadcasting and turn off their analog transmitters to do so. I would expect the majority of broadcasters will choose to do this sooner rather than later, but we will have to wait and see how this plays out.

It looks like instead of a hard date to make the switch, it will occur over the next few months. June 12 is on a Friday, and to me it makes way more sense to do it over a weekend than in the middle of the week like the Feb. 17 date was. I never did understand why in the world it would happen on a Tuesday night.

But I think the point is moot anyway. The compromise bill, if it is passed, will allow television stations to make the move at any time up until June 12.


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Comments (5)

mary... the cat lady:

The house voted down a provision that would have allowed an immediate vote on the delay bill. the bill is not dead as of yet as it can still go to committee and be re-introduced next week.
However, if it does come up for a vote again next week, it will then have to go back to the senate for review before it can be passed.

mary... the cat lady:

It looks like the house is gearing up for a vote to delay the DTV transition date for sometime next week.

mary... the cat lady:

As you might have read on the TV Week homepage, the US Senate helped to facilitate the passage of a bill to delay the mandated transition date of digital only broadcasting.
Some changes were made in the bill, which would allow the bill to go directly to President Obama if it passes in the House. the bill passed the Senate by a unanimous vote.

mary... the cat lady:

The house has delayed the vote to delay the mandated transition date until Wednesday...

mary... the cat lady:

The house passed th digital transition delay bill this afternoon. June 12, is the new deadline.
But I think the point is moot. I think that most stations will still switch at midnight on the 17th.

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