House Approves 30-Day Extension

‘Nightlight’ legislation will allow DTV education and emergency in analog.

Television broadcasters are close to getting a 30-day stay of execution on their full-power analog signals.

The House Wednesday passed the Short-term Analog Flash and Emergency Readiness Act (SAFER) by unanimous consent. The bill goes now to President Bush for his expected signature.

The bill will let broadcasters, with FCC approval, keep operating on analog for 30 days after the Feb. 17, 2009 deadline, but only to show information about the DTV transition, or for emergencies.

“It ensures that, once the digital television transition has taken place, unprepared analog televisions will receive a short ‘slide’—in English and Spanish—explaining that the digital transition has occurred and what viewers need to do to continue receiving television broadcasts,” said Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., the bill’s House sponsor.

The Senate already passed the bill, sponsored there by Sen. Jay Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va.