Thursday, January 29, 2009

Digital Signal Hostage Crisis Averted – Not Over

Nightline, or ABC News Nightline is a late-night hard and soft news program broadcast by ABC in the United States. The program had its beginnings on November 8, 1979, just 4 days after the Iran hostage crisis started. ABC News president Roone Arledge felt the best way to compete against NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was to update Americans on the latest news from Iran. Caption Credit: Wikipedia Image Credit:

Digital Signal Hostage Crisis Averted – Not Over

The House of Representatives, yesterday, did not muster enough votes to place the launch to the conversion of television broadcasting from analog signal to digital signal in a delay.

The proposal on the House floor was designed to delay (hold hostage) the conversion date by four months (from Feb. 17, 2009 to June 17, 2009).

Delaying the transition would cost public broadcasters $22 million, the PBS system chief, Paula Kerger, estimated on Monday.

The National Association of Broadcasters had not taken a position on extending the deadline. The TV stations don't want to suddenly alienate and lose viewers, but they've also sunk money into preparing for the Feb. 17 transition.

Americans have had about one year to prepare for this digital signal conversion. With this vote, our broadcast standards conversion will not be held hostage here in Carter’s Second Term.

We have averted a Converter Box/Digital Signal conversion hostage crisis, but hope still looms - proponents of the delay are hopeful that the House can take up the issue again next week (on behalf of President Barack Obama) and take a vote for a conversion delay a second time with a simple majority decision.

Consumers can apply for a coupon at or call 1-888-DTV2009. Many converter boxes have sold out, according to the NTIA’s official list. However, I know digital converter boxes are still in stock. I was at the Target store in Huntington Beach over the weekend and they had plenty. Caption & Image Credit:

This excerpted and edited from the San Francisco Chronicle -

House vote keeps digital TV deadline, for now
Ryan Kim, Chronicle Staff Writer - Thursday, January 29, 2009

Despite a unanimous vote by the U.S. Senate to delay the Feb. 17 deadline to transition to digital television, the changeover will proceed as planned after a vote Wednesday by the House of Representatives.

The House voted 258-168 in favor of a four-month delay, but the measure fell 26 votes short of the necessary two-thirds margin for passage. The Senate voted Monday to delay the transition to June 12, fearing that an estimated 6.5 million TV households would be unprepared for the shift from analog TV.
The two-thirds vote was required because the bill was fast-tracked on the House's suspension calendar.

Viewers who use sets with antenna to pull in the old analog signal will need to buy a TV with a digital tuner, purchase a converter box or upgrade to a pay TV service.
President Obama urged a delay earlier this month. Republicans were largely opposed to the delay, saying it would further confuse consumers and would cost broadcasters millions to keep broadcasting in analog. They also worried about public safety agencies who were set to take over parts of the spectrum freed up by moving to more efficient digital airwaves.

"The bill is a solution looking for a problem," said Joe Barton of Texas before the vote. He is the top Republican on the House Commerce Committee.

Congress allocated more spectrum to broadcasters in 1996 so they could create digital broadcast channels. In 2005, legislators chose the deadline of Feb. 17 to free up spectrum for emergency services and advanced wireless communications. The transition also allows broadcasters to create multiple digital channels, including high-definition feeds.
Reference Here>>

With this delay/hostage crisis situation being placed on ice, at least temporally, don’t look for a revival of the once popular ABC NEWS program, Nightline, soon.

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