Congress voted today to postpone the switch from analog to digital TV broadcasting. The move addresses the concern that 6.5 million Americans would not be ready for the February 17 switch. This is The House’s second vote on the issue. A vote last week was shut down in a procedure requiring more than a simple majority. Today’s vote was normal. The Senate passed the bill in a unanimous vote last week. The bill is now on its way to The White House where President Obama is expected to sign it tomorrow. The new deadline is June 12.
Critics say the delay will confuse people and “burden” the services (cellular, EMS, etc.) waiting to use the analog spectrum. It also costs TV broadcasters more money to broadcast in both signals.
UPDATE: The PG reports that with the change, WTAE, WPXI and KDKA are expected to retain their analog signals until the new deadline. However, the new legislation consists of a provision that stations may go ahead with the February 17 deadline. WPGH and WPMY are expected to convert on February 17 as will WQED and WQEX. WQED will move its digital signal from 38 back to 13 while WQEX will take over the 38 allocation. WPCB has not decided which deadline to go with, but WPCW will not be able to switch until Channel 11 becomes available when WPXI shuts down analog.