Prepare for TV confusion, as the House of Representatives passes the amended digital TV switchover delay bill and it makes its way to President Obama’s desk for his final approval. When that’s given – which, considering his backing of the original bill, isn’t expected to be any sort of hurdle – it will put TV broadcasters themselves in the position of deciding whether to switch off analog signals on the original February 17th date, the new June 12th date, or any time in-between.
Of primary concern are the estimated millions of Americans still unprepared to receive digital TV, whether through a new set or a convertor box. The original bill sought to force a wholehearted switch to the new, June date, but was rejected by Republicans who would prefer to see more investment in the subsidy voucher scheme and a commitment to the original, well-advertized date.
The subsidy scheme – which gives $40 discount vouchers toward the cost of a convertor box – has now been rejuiced, and is beginning to reissue coupons to those whose have expired. Perhaps I’m stupid, but I don’t see why the expired coupons could not have been accepted, which would certainly be a whole lot cheaper than reprinting and redistributing. OTA analog TV viewers are advised to consult their providers to find out exactly when the changeover will take place; that is, of course, if the providers know themselves.