Digital TV deadline may extend to 2009

Oct. 14, 2004 at 4:15 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. government wants to extend the deadline for ending analog transmission of TV broadcasts to give consumers more time to buy digital TVs.

The Federal Communications Commission and lawmakers are searching for a way to revise the legal deadline of 2006 to 2009 to transition the switch from analog to digital signals, Detroit Free Press reported Thursday.

"Having a deadline of 2009 will add millions more digital sets to the marketplace before analog signals are turned off," FCC Chairman Michael Powell told the Senate Commerce Committee in September.

The current law says moving to digital sets should come once 85 percent of American households own TVs that get digital signals. The current figure reportedly is 10 percent.

Digital broadcasting will allow homes without cable to view high definition programming as well as use the airwaves more efficiently, the Free Press said.

Digital television sets currently start at $500. A digital convertor for an old set can be purchased for $120.

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