Of interest: House defeats (and then approves) bill to postpone the digital television transition. Consumer feedback much?
As noted here, the As Kim Hart, Staff Writer for the Washington Post noted in her article today, Technical Difficulties: Switch to Digital TV May Not Be as Smooth as Advertised, many consumers are impacted by the transition to digital television (as I noted noted previously). Customers find that simply using a converter box isn't always enough to get reliable TV signals.
I noted today (as the Washington Post's Kim Hart reported) that the House defeated bill to postpone transition to digital television broadcasting (as noted here), not getting the to-thirds majority needed to approve the measure.
What are they thinking?
As Reuters reported today…
Consumers groups have been pushing the effort to delay the transition date to June 12 from February 17, worried that 20 million mostly poor, elderly and rural households are not ready for the congressionally mandated switch.
"It's really unfortunate," said Joel Kelsey, an analyst at Consumers Union. "Consumers are staring at a big, fat, unfunded mandate in the midst of an economic crisis."
More than one million people are on a waiting list for $40 government coupons to subsidize the cost of converter boxes needed by those with older televisions. The agency that runs the program ran out of coupons earlier this month.
Reuters notes that the item may come up again next week with a rule requiring simple majority passage.
Want to know how your representative voted? Check out the role call for this vote. I'm sending mail to my representative today.
IMHO, our elected representatives could allow the transition to go ahead as planned on Feb. 17 but amend the legislation allowing for a delay – a grace period – to the complete transition. Such a "roll over period" (perhaps an additional 90 to 150 days) would allow for the processing and distribution of digital STB coupons and migration of those who have yet to make the change.
During this period, both digital and older analog signals would available, and those consumers who have not made the transition to digital should see not only the channel displayed but a rolling warning notice that their ability to view the television station they're watching will end unless they immediately migrate to digital equipment.