[opendtv] Lawmakers Establish 2009 Deadline for Analog TV Phaseout

  • From: Mark Aitken <maitken@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 14:29:08 -0500

So..do we now rewind the clock and start the stop watch again?

*Lawmakers Establish 2009 Deadline for Analog TV Phaseout*

By Arshad Mohammed
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 20, 2005; D05

They've finally set a date -- Feb. 17, 2009.

That's the last day the over-the-air analog signals that have brought 
television programs into Americans' homes for decades will be broadcast, 
leaving only digital signals, under an agreement reached by House and 
Senate negotiators over the weekend.

That means that millions of people will either have to buy new digital 
TV sets or get their hands on a set-top converter box that allows the 
digital channels to be viewed over an old analog television. In 
addition, the negotiators agreed to spend up to $1.5 billion in federal 
funds to subsidize the set-top boxes for consumers.

Under the legislation, which was passed by the House yesterday and is 
expected to be approved by the Senate this week, consumers will be able 
to get up to two $40 coupons per household to help defray the cost of 
the set-top boxes.

The bill chiefly affects people who watch TV on sets that pick up analog 
signals through their antennas. Cable companies are expected to win 
permission from Congress to convert digital signals so they can be 
viewed over an analog set. Satellite TV customers already receive 
digital signals.

The legislation will allow the government to take back the radio 
spectrum used for analog TV broadcasts. The government then plans to 
auction some of the spectrum to bring in an estimated $10 billion over 
five years -- $7.4 billion of which would go toward reducing the budget 

It also sets aside spectrum to help police, firefighters and other first 
responders to communicate during emergencies.

The legislation has been debated by lawmakers for months, with the most 
contentious issues being the cutoff date -- which could put politicians 
in the uncomfortable position of turning off voters' TV sets -- and the 
amount of the set-top box subsidy.

Some legislators argued that federal funds should not subsidize private 
television viewing. But majorities in both houses of Congress concluded 
that some money should be set aside to help.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company


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Mark A. Aitken
Director, Advanced Technology

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Sinclair Broadcast Group
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If mankind were to resolve to agree
in no institution of government,
until every part of it had been
adjusted to the most exact standard
of perfection, society would soon
become a general scene of anarchy,
and the world a desert.

~ ~ ~ Alexander Hamilton ~ ~ ~


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