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Congress gives $65 million to LPTV stations for DTV transition

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce last week passed legislation that would grant $65 million available Feb. 17, 2009, to help low-power stations — many Spanish language — transition to digital broadcasting.

The legislation, which already passed the Senate, will also allow about $10 million for the cost of new digital translators and for DTV education. Earlier legislation would have prohibited the low-power stations from getting the money until October 2010.

However, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration requested that the money be allocated earlier so that more stations could go digital sooner. The NTIA is attempting to overcome the fact that most DTV-to-analog converter boxes don’t have analog tuners in them and are not required to pass through analog signals.