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1/30/2009
06:13 PM
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Congress Renewing Efforts To Delay DTV Switch Till June

More than 3 million Americans are still awaiting $40 coupons for boxes that will convert the new digital broadcasts to analog.

After turning down the postponement of the transition of analog to digital TV broadcasting earlier this week, the U.S. Congress is gearing up for another vote on the issue in early February.

President Obama has indicated he'll sign the legislation.

The effort is something of a technicality because the House already approved the legislation by a 258-to-168 vote, and the vote expected to take place next week will only require a simple majority to pass. The U.S. Senate has already approved the issue twice -- each time by a unanimous vote.

The legislation calls for the switch to be delayed from Feb. 17 until June 12. Millions of Americans could be impacted by the switch of over-the-air broadcasts from analog to digital. Consumers who get their TV reception from cable, satellite, or sets outfitted with digital receivers likely won't be impacted, but millions with older TV sets will cease getting reception when the switch takes place.

More than 3 million Americans are still awaiting $40 coupons for boxes that will convert the new digital broadcasts to analog. The program is being run by the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, but the NTIA's work has been hampered in recent weeks because the program has spent the $1.34 billion that was allocated for the switch. Proposed legislation calls for another $650 million to be set aside to carry the switch to completion.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday that Obama will sign the legislation if and when it passes.

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