WASHINGTON, DC: The House of Representatives
, the lower house of the US legislature, has signed a bill delaying the full digital TV changeover until June 12, four months later than originally planned, after concerns that many households will not be ready for the switch.
The analog signal was originally set to be switched off in February 17, but many legislators expressed concerns after stocks ran out of the $40 (€31; £27) coupons distributed by the government to help cover the cost of converter boxes.
Despite a $1 billion communications effort, many Americans are also said to lack information about the switch, and The Nielsen Company
estimated last month that 6.5 million households could not receive digital transmission.
Speaking in the House debate, Democrat Representative Maxine Walters
said: “Yes, it would be great if everyone had received their coupons, and if everybody understood the transition to digital, but they don't.”
President Barack Obama
is expected to sign the bill, and a statement from the White House said his administration would "continue to work with Congress to improve the information and assistance available to American consumers."
Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff