House Approves Bill to Delay DTV to June 12

Bill now sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.

Steve Crowe · February 4, 2009

The House of Representatives has approved a bill, 264-158, that would delay the DTV transition from Feb. 17 to June 12, 2009, Broadcasting & Cable reports.

The bill will now be sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. Obama initially brought up the idea of delaying the transition, saying too many Americans were unprepared.

The bill also allows:

  • Broadcasters to end analog transmissions before June 12
  • Households to reapply for expired coupons using $650 million in the economic stimulus package
  • Allocation of more money to DTV education

Before the bill was passed, acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said 61 percent of about 1,800 stations could make the switch before June 12 without “interfering with other stations,” according to Broadcasting & Cable.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who lead opposition to delaying the transition, says Republicans prepared several amendments that would have improved the delay, including freeing up nearly $250 million to clear up a waiting list for converter box coupons.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has issued a statement in response to the delay, pledging “full support for a successful transition to digital television” and that they will update all marketing materials quickly.

“As CEA has repeatedly cautioned, this date change will inject uncertainty into the market and may result in a shortage of converter boxes, because manufacturers and retailers planned box inventory based on a February 17 transition date,” says Gary Shapiro, CEO.

“CEA urges Congress and the Administration to take the necessary steps to ensure converter box availability and to urge consumers to act immediately to enjoy the benefits of DTV.”

On Jan. 30, 2009, the Senate voted for the second time to delay the transition. The House denied the initial bill, failing to reach the two-thirds majority vote (258-168, 60.6 percent) needed to pass the bill.

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  About the Author

Steve Crowe has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Steve at

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