Television owners racing to upgrade their old tubes just got an extension.
In a surprise reversal, the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to delay the digital-TV transition by four months, the New York Times reports. The House had initially rejected the bill Jan. 28, one day after the Senate passed a similar piece of legislation. The original transition deadline had been set for Feb. 17; the new transition date is expected to be rescheduled for June 12.
"[T]he passage of this bipartisan legislation means that millions of Americans will have the time they need to prepare for the conversion," White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said in a statement.
While TV owners with cable or satellite connections will not be affected by the transition, viewers with antennas will lose service, unless they purchase new TVs or a converter box. President Obama requested a delay for the transition early in January after it was discovered that a government converter-coupon program had maxed out its budget, leaving an estimated 2.5 million Americans without financial support.
Nielsen Co. estimates that 6.5 million households would have been unprepared for the analog-to-digital switch at the original deadline. Last week, the Times reported that elderly citizens would be among the hardest hit by the transition.
Do you think the delay will help those who are still unprepared for the advent of digital TV?