House passes bill authorizing short-term continuation of analog TV

The U.S. House of Representatives Dec. 10 passed a bill permitting the nation’s broadcasters to continue certain analog transmission for 30 days following the February 2009 DTV transition

The U.S. House of Representatives approved by unanimous consent legislation Dec. 10 authorizing the nation’s broadcasters to continue analog broadcast of essential information for 30 days following the Feb. 17, 2009, DTV transition.

The legislation, authored by Rep. Lois Capps, D-CA, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, passed last month by unanimous consent in the Senate and awaits signing by President Bush.

The Short-term Analog Flash and Emergency Readiness (SAFER) Act (S. 3663) will allow broadcasters to transmit analog signals informing viewers with an on-screen slide of the DTV transition in English and Spanish and a phone number to call to learn how to receive DTV transmissions. It also will permit broadcasters to transmit on their analog channels the same emergency weather and public safety information broadcast on their digital channels.

Capps originally introduced the legislation in the House Sept. 23, 2008. Rockefeller introduced similar legislation in the Senate. The current legislation, S. 3663, is a compromise based on the original Capps and Rockefeller bills.