US Senate votes to delay digital switchover

30 Jan 2009

The US Senate has passed another bill to delay the transition to digital television.

The decision was taken because there are concerns that some 20 million poor, elderly and rural households are not technically ready for the switchover.

February 17 has been scheduled as the date that the US turns off analogue TV signals and switches to digital.

The unanimous backing of the bill means that the decision now rests with the US House of Representatives.

The move to digital will not only mean greater choice and quality of content, but is being seen in US as a vital form of access for public services and emergency services.

According to Nielsen Ratings, some 6.5 million houses across the US are not ready for the changeover.

In Ireland, the slow transformation from analogue to digital will commence in August this year. Analogue services will then be phased out over the next four years before we arrive at a deadline of 2012, when analogue will be completely replaced with digital broadcasting.

By John Kennedy