January 17, 2009

Digital TV transition may be delayed

The transition from analog to digital TV signals across the United States could be delayed by months under a new congressional proposal, an official says.

John Podesta, co-chairman of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, said Friday the incoming administration supports legislation to hold off the digital changeover from Feb. 17 to June 12, The Wall Street Journal reported.

U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., made the proposal Thursday and a vote could take place by next week.

The proposed delay comes as the federal government program to help U.S. residents deal with the switch to digital is running short of money.

The government has been providing $40 coupons that can be used to obtain converter boxes that allow older televisions to still receive free broadcast TV channels.

The Journal said House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman has also introduced legislation that would alter the coupon program and push the transition date back to June 12.