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Senate Approves Date for Switch to Digital

Dec 21, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The Senate on Wednesday approved a compromise measure that would require broadcasters to make the switch to digital TV by Feb. 17, 2009. But the Senate deleted a few unrelated provisions from the massive budget bill in which the DTV provisions are included, meaning that the House will have to approve the measure again before the measure can become law, according to industry sources. Industry sources also said that it was unclear whether the House would be able to reconvene a sufficient number of members–many of whom have already headed back to their homes for the holidays–to vote on the measure this year. The House originally approved the compromise DTV package–which also caps federal subsidies for consumer acquisitions of digital-to-analog set-top converters at $1.5 billion-on Monday. The Senate approved the budget package in a 51-50 vote Wednesday morning, with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the deciding vote. The Senate was forced to delete several provisions unrelated to DTV from the $39.7 billion budget package to clear the way for a vote on the Senate floor.