« Minnesota Senate recount trial enters day two | Main | Salmonella claims 3rd Minnesotan »

DTV switch delayed by Senate

Americans who have not yet prepared for the switch to all digital over-the-air TV broadcasts will get a four-month extension to get ready, reports Reuters.

The U.S. Senate voted on Monday to delay the transition until June 12. The former date for the proposed switch was February 17.

The delay was due to fears over technologically unprepared residents. The U.S. government also ran out of money for its program to help subsidize the cost of converter boxes needed to receive digital signals. Prior to running out of money the government was providing households with $40 coupons for converter boxes.

Reuters reports that 2.5 million Americans are on the waiting list for converter box coupons while The New York Times reports only 1.4 million are on the list.

"The Senate acted responsibly to give the Obama administration time to attempt to bring order to a mismanaged process," said Senate Commerce Chairman John Rockefeller.

Lawmakers fear an estimated 20 million households of poor or elderly citizens are not ready for the switch that requires them to either purchase a converter box, a new TV, or cable or satellite service.

Broadcasters say the switch to digital will open up more airspace for emergency and increase the picture quality of broadcasts.