DTV cutoff officially delayed

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Congress today voted to make the DTV transition even more confusing by pushing back the date given on every billboard and in every commercial an additional four months. The cut-off date is now June 12th…sort of.

According to a Washington Post story on the delay

The House today has voted to delay the nation’s transition to digital television by four months, less than two weeks before broadcasters were scheduled to turn off traditional analog signals and air only digital programming Feb. 17.

An additional impact of the new legislation is that DTV conversion coupons that expired are now good again, for a limited time.

What all of this means is that the people who ignored all of the warnings and pleas for the last year, can now ignore another four months of the same. This also means that those of us who did what was necessary for the transition have to put up with the constant barrage of noise about the DTV switch for another four months.

What’s worse, though, is that those stations ready to make the switch can switch, which will now result in a patchwork of cut-offs, rather than the one clean cut-off date for everyone.

Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael J. Cops said today that 143 broadcasters have already terminated their analog signals and another 60 stations plan to do so before Feb. 17. Other stations have told the agency they plan to shut off analog signals on the original transition date, but they may choose to remain on the air.

Except that it typically costs a station $10,000 a month to continue with both analog and digital signals at the same time. I think we’ll find more than a few stations making the transition on the earlier, February 17th date.

Additional information at Broadcasting and Cable.

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