Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Get ready for HD

The Senate Monday night approved unanimously a compromise bill (S.328) that would move the DTV transition date from Feb. 17 to June 12, but it must now be reconciled with a House version of the bill, and quickly, point out backers of the legislation.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and the bill's co-sponsor, sought a similar vote on his original bill, which would simply have moved the date from Feb. 17 to June 12. That bill was blocked by at least one Republican, which is all it takes.

Rockefeller then teamed with ranking Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison on a compromise bill that dealt with other issues, including unclogging the DTV-to-analog converter box backlog and access to reclaimed analog TV spectrum by industry and first responders. Most importantly, at least in terms of getting Republican support, the bill is revenue-neutral, meaning the cost of making the move will be underwritten by future FCC spectrum auctions.
Postponement is good idea, & if the Repugs knocked out millions in additional consumer education money, that was a good idea, too. Everybody knows what's gonna happen. They ought to extend the expiration dates for the $40 discount cards. The main problem is availability of converters. Some are better than others, & as reviews were posted at various retail websites the good ones sold out - all $50-$70, & Amazon isn't even posting "more on the way" notices like it does for other stuff. Shoprite had a quality converter on sale this week & the item either sold out Sunday or the store never received the shipment at all - customer service was clueless.


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