House sets Feb. 17, 2009, DTV transition date

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the budget reconciliation bill, which included the DTV Transition Act, early Monday morning setting Feb. 17, 2009, as the date certain for the close of the transition from analog to digital television.

By a vote of 212-206, the vote set the hard date for cessation of analog transmission and allocated $1.5 billion to assist the owners of the estimated 73 million television sets used for over-the-air viewing with the purchase of a digital-to-analog converter box.

The bill eliminated a provision that would have allowed cable operators to downconvert HDTV signals to SD.

A letter dated Dec. 19 to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) from NAB president David Rehr urged the Senator and his colleagues to support passage of the budget reconciliation bill.

The Senate is expected to take action on the bill as early as this week.

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