The march toward digital-only television in the USA is quickening its pace, led by media regulator the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC has brought forward the deadline by which TV manufacturers must offer popular, midsize sets capable of receiving digital signals.

All receivers with screen sizes from 25 to 36 inches must be capable of receiving both digital and traditional analog signals by March 1 2006, four months earlier than decreed three years ago.

The Consumer Electronics Association had asked for the new deadline, at the same time seeking to delay another deadline set for next month, which requires 50% of all midsize sets on sale to be digital-ready. The FCC has denied that request.

The US has set a tentative date of December 2006 for completion of the digital switchover.

  • Congress and the FCC are eager to spped the takeup of digital TV so analog airwaves can be reclaimed and sold for billions of dollars to commercial wireless companies and public safety agencies.

    The Bush administration, however, wants most of the money raised to help plug the massive federal budget deficit.

    Data sourced from USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff