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Obama Asks Congress to Delay DTV Transition

By: John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

President-elect Barack Obama has asked Congress to extend the Feb. 17 DTV transition date.

Citing problems with the DTV-to-analog converter box program and "inadequate funding" of government DTV education programs, John Podesta, co-chair of the Obama-Biden transition team, requested that "the cut-off date for analog signals should be reconsidered and extended."

That is according to a letter (click here to view) being sent Thursday to the chairs and ranking Republicans on the House and Senate Committees overseeing communications (The House Energy & Commerce Committee and Senate Commerce Committee).

Saying that only 28 days after the inauguration Americans would wake up to find their analog TV's no longer able to receive an over-the-air signal—and pointing to the decision on the date made in 2005 and implemented by the outgoing administration—Podesta urged them to "consider a change to the legislatively mandated cut-off date."

He said that funds to support the conversion are "woefully inadequate," particularly to address the problems of seniors and low income viewers.

He also suggested that there would be money from the president-elect's economic recovery package that would help address the funding shortfalls.

Consumers Union, which called for a similar move Wednesday after consultation with the transition, has suggested moving the date to midsummer.


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