The U.S. Senate passed a bill last week that would allow broadcasters to continue offering analog TV service for 30 days after the Feb. 17, 2009 deadline. Similar legislation is pending in the House of Representatives.
But viewers won’t be getting the usual TV shows. Rather, the stations will broadcast information explaining how to transition to digital TV and offer steps showing what it takes to continue getting TV after the 30 days.
That might be enough to motivate analog TV viewers who have yet to make the switch. To switch, consumers need to either buy a digital TV or a digital converter box or subscribe to paid TV services, such as cable, satellite or Internet. A converter box is the cheapest way and the government offers $40 discount coupons.
Regardless of when the change happens, analog users need to switch soon. Since more TV channels fit on a digital signal, the government plans to repurpose those analog signals for emergency uses.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia sponsored the bill, called the Short-Term Analog Flash and Emergency Readiness (SAFER) Act, and U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-23rd District, introduced a similar one in the House.