After failing to get the required two-third majority on Wednesday, the House is expected next week to pass legislation delaying the digital television transition to June 12, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. The Senate has already voted to extend the deadline, and President Obama has indicated he will sign the bill.


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  1. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    What’s happening, then? My TV won’t work anymore? Crap, I need to go buy three new ones. Can I claim them as dependents on 2009 taxes? HELP ME OBAMA!

  2. laserjobs says:

    What a waste of more taxpayer dollars

  3. cynical_bastard says:

    This has been on the horizon for YEARS!!!

    The people that havent adapted by now, wont by summer!


    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      @cynical_bastard: Exactly.

      I see commercials about the DTV conversion on every commercial break. Either from Comcast trying to convince non-customers that they they are the easiest option, to ones with various TV “stars” warning viewers of the conversion. There are even tests done during news casts where they say “If you lose your signal for the next 30 seconds, you need a converter!”.

      If they don’t want enough TV to know what is going on, then they aren’t going to care when the lose their signal.

    • DriverB says:

      @cynical_bastard: Amen to that!

      No matter when the transition happens, some people are just not going to get it. And if they have to go without tv for a few days while they work it out? They’ll be fine! Sheesh.

  4. Pylon83 says:

    God forbid Congress spend their time doing more important things. They haven’t wasted enough time delaying and debating the DTV transition. Further, now they’ll have to spend more money on an additional 6 months of TV ads and various other ways to try to reach the numbskulls who have ignored them so far. Way to go.

    • madanthony says:


      I’m glad they are working on stuff that’s completely unimportant and irrelevant. It keeps them from doing any serious damage on stuff where they really could fuck something up and it would matter.

  5. APFPilot says:

    I thought i saw something in the Economic Stimulus about $630,000,000 for digital coverter boxes?

  6. downwithmonstercable says:


    I want those analog channels to disappear :P

  7. Sam Wille says:

    What? This is bull!

    Stop delaying this already and transition!

  8. Necoras says:

    Two thirds? Why not a simple 51% majority?

    • Zeniq says:

      @Necoras: Because that’s the way the system works.

    • Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

      @Necoras: Because the bill was introduced through special rules which limit debate. Those special rules also require a higher number of votes to pass the bill, a two-thirds majority. Had full debate been allowed, you’d be looking at a flat majority being required to pass the bill.

      Ironically, they probably thought that limiting debate would cut the time necessary to approve the matter. Now, all it has done is make it more difficult to pass and lengthened the amount of time necessary to find the votes.

    • MooseOfReason says:

      @Necoras: Because 51% is tyranny of the majority.

      If we’ll have tyranny, let it be a super majority, damn it!

  9. Wren11 says:

    If this is confusing those of us who keep up with these things, imagine what this back and forth is doing for those already unsure about the conversion.

    All I have to say is that the post office rush on April 15th and the panicked shoppers on Dec. 24th show that no matter how much you drive home that something is coming up, most people will wait until the last possible minute.

  10. j-o-h-n says:


    (and if you are here reading this at consumerist get back to work)

  11. spongebue says:

    Should they delay the switch because of people not being ready? No, they had enough time.

    Should there be a delay because the coupon program funds dried up, creating a waiting list, with no chance of receiving a coupon in time of the switch? Absolutely. Could everyone have gotten their coupon earlier, before the fund ran out? Sure, but if everyone did it, that would only mean that the program would have run out of money faster.

    Really, they’re commercials. Sure, they’re annoying, but try having your signal get cut because the government screwed up in giving you those coupons they promised.

    • ChemNerd says:

      @spongebue: The government screwed up nothing on this, they’ve done far more than they should have already codling the old and stupid on this.

      TV is a privledge, not a right. If you want tv, go spend the $50 yourself on the damn box. If money is that tight you should have gotten the coupon when you had the chance, why should you be entitled to jack when you’re that lazy?

  12. coan_net says:

    Oh great… a bailout to those without a converter box – I’m screwed again since I actually planned ahead.

    • Zeniq says:

      @coan_net: Well, actually, I think you’ll be fine. Good job planning ahead, and I don’t think the deadline being extended will screw you over in any way…

  13. idip says:

    Sigh… Now I have to hear my local reporter say “XX” more days until the Digital Signal Transition.

    I mean seriously…. what more are they going to be doing? People KNOW it’s happening. They just didn’t prepare to save money for the converter or waited til the last minute to miss out on the coupon program.

    This is driving me crazy.

  14. zundian says:

    The majority of stations are going to shut off their analog transmitters on February 17th, even if this does pass, because it will save them more than half of their electric bill. This is just Congress saying “Hey, it wasn’t MY fault” again.

  15. geeky_reader says:

    TV’s kind of play a dual role. Sure, they’re luxury/privilege when considering that many flock to them for American Idol XLIII, but they are also the main source of news for most households.

    Just because they’re necessary though, doesn’t mean that government should be forced to give people free coupons to purchase the (relatively affordable) converter box.

    Car seats are required for children by law. Where are the government-issued car seat coupons?

    When audio cassettes became obsolete, where were the government-issued compact disc coupons?

    It was a nice gesture by the government to provide the coupons while they lasted. However it was not necessary and should not be required to make this switch happen.

    • cynical_bastard says:

      @apronk: *cough* bread and circuses *cough*

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @apronk: Not that you wanted a serious answer to your rhetorical question, but many fire or EMS services have car seats for people who are unable to buy one. I don’t know if police departments do the same, but it’s not hard to get public assistance to take care of innocent children.

      I think the government mandate of and assistance toward purchasing the converter boxes is a huge reason they’re available in great numbers, and from places like CVS. Manufacturers would lave waited until the last minute as well, because there wouldn’t have been much demand, and (if you can imagine it) the signal conversion would be an even bigger mess than it is now.

  16. IHateYourKids says:

    No! Do not want!

  17. Thaddeus says:

    Worst part is the fact that we have had Feb 17th DRILLED into our heads for God knows how long, people will still think it’s that date, and they will think they have a DTV. Then when the new date rolls around the FCC call centers are going to be going nuts dealing with all the “my DTV is broken” calls.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @Cogito Ergo Bibo: Then there are the stations that won’t be able to ramp up to production power levels on their digital signal until they or another station drops their analog transmissions. The only local whose digital signal I can’t get with a tabletop antenna is one that’s on low power until AFTER the Grand Transition.

  18. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    Zundian, up above, is right. I’ve read the Senate bill. If the new one is pretty much the same as the old one, it basically says that the stations CAN wait until June to shut down the analog feed. How many are likely to wait when they are paying a ton of money for two different feeds, right now? Not many.

    However, for those persons who received over-the-air analog perfectly but suddenly have found out that they can’t pull in jack for digital (the transmission doesn’t reach them), this might be a godsend. If a station finds out that the majority of their viewers can’t seem to drag in a decent digital signal, at least they’d have the option of continuing an analog feed while they work on boosting their digital one. They wouldn’t be forced to switch over, as they are now.

  19. bullwinkle12 says:

    Why is this such a big issue to Obama? Like many have said before: chances are, if you haven’t heard of/aren’t read for the transition you don’t need to worry about it.

  20. synergy says:

    Oh for pete’s sake. Someone needs to airdrop copies of Consumerists’ flow chart on the digital thing all over the country and be done with it. It’s not that hard! Good grief! And if people still haven’t gotten with the program, do they need television that much??

  21. William C Bonner says:

    I’m registered democrat, but my house representative is a republican. I really want the deadline not to be extended, and am upset that this seems to be shown as a republican blocking issue on the first vote. It should have been seen as simply a right minded vote that blocked it.

    This deadline has been well publicized for at least the last three years, and a delay is just going to add to the confusion.

    The delay leaves it up to the individual broadcasters as to when they turn off their analog signal. If two of my five broadcasters decide to save the money by stopping power to the analog system, and going ahead with the scheduled work of dismantling the old system, while three continue to pay for power to broadcast on both analog and digital, plus reschedule the dismantling work, then grandma is going to be more confused about what’s wrong with her TV.