House Republicans Decry DTV Transition Delay

Jan 14, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Fourteen House Republicans are urging President-elect Barack Obama to reverse course on delaying the digital TV changeover, warning that a delay would be “a monumental error in judgment.”
“No one said that this was going to be easy, but we have unquestionably made the right decision to complete the digital television transition of Feb. 17,” said the letter. “We believe that panicky talk of a delay is breeding stultifying uncertainty.”
In the letter today, the 14, led by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, said that the deadline had provided a certainty that helped to assure that broadcasters informed consumers about the changeover, that consumers became aware of the switch and that consumers asked for discount coupons for converter boxes.
“None of this would have happened without the certainty of a deadline. America understood that we said what we meant and meant what we said and that the digital transition was coming for sure.”
The letter suggested that the Obama transition office’s delay request is already creating consequences.
“Industry groups are nervously withdrawing from what had been vigorous consumer education efforts. There is rising fear that consumers may be refraining from requesting coupons because they have read that the program is broke and the switch is off.”
Suggesting that TV station engineers are standing by to make the conversion on Feb. 17, the letter urged they not be headed off.
“The last thing we need is for them to stand down and stand around, waiting for us to make up our minds.”
It also suggested running both analog and digital transmitters at the same time would be expensive and not “green.”
The latest letter may reflect a long-term fight between Democrats and Republicans in the House on whether adequate money was set aside for the DTV switchover publicity and coupons.
The Obama transition office did not return a request for comment.


  1. “Suggesting that TV station engineers are standing by to make the conversion on Feb. 17, the letter urged they not be headed off.”
    Well, we aren’t exactly standing around, but let’s get this damned foolishness behind us! February 17 or never!

  2. More to the point, stations across the country are hemorrhaging cash having to run both their legacy analog and their digital transmitters.
    Allowing the conversion to happen as scheduled allows the broadcasters to shut off those analog transmitters saving big money.
    If the Dems prefer another rationale, think of all the power it will save to shut off half the nation’s transmitters, and the net reduction in greenhouse gases!

  3. Above all else some people will NEVER be ready for this to happen no matter what you do or how hard you try. Lets get going with this!

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