From the ‘Make up your mind, for gosh sake!’ department…

The U.S. Senate late last week passed another bill aimed as delaying the switch from analogue to digital TV broadcasting there from February 17 until June 12. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for its approval.

However, the House resoundingly defeated a similar bill from the Senate earlier last week.

Under the new ‘compromise’ bill, broadcasters could switch to digital as originally planned or opt to delay their switch until June.

If the House approves the new bill, it will go to President Barach Obama for signing. Obama has indicated that he is in favour of a delay or, at least, the option of a delay.

At issue is the fact that as many as 20 million U.S. TV viewers — mostly low-income, elderly or rural viewers — are not technologically ready for the change to digital.

The U.S. government instituted a program last year making available (US)$40 grants to viewers towards the cost of a digital to analogur set-top converter box to adapt their old sets. But the program ‘sold out’ of coupons before all comers were served and additional funds have just recently been made available under the Obama economic stimulous package.

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