DTV Primer

Chris Llana, Editor



Conference Work Starts

December 16, 2005

On December 15 the Senate appointed 20 conferees to sit on the House-Senate conference committee that will reconcile differences between the two budget bills that contain the digital TV transition provisions.

The Senate had earlier debated instructions to give to the conferees on this proposed legislation (S.1932 and H.R. 4241), although none of those instructions related to the digital TV provisions of the bills.

The primary differences between the two DTV bills are the dates for cutting off analog broadcasts (December 31, 2008 for the House version versus the Senate's April 7, 2009) and the amount of money allocated to digital-to-analog converter box subsidies (about $3 billion from the Senate versus less than $1 billion from the House).

There is talk of a February 2009 compromise date for the analog shut-off.

The Senate bill included only budget-related TV provisions and did not include the House provisions on consumer education, cable carriage of digital signals, etc. because of Senate rules. I would expect those important House DTV transition provisions to be picked up in one form or another by the conference committee.