Digital TV law faces court challenge

February 3rd, 2007

The law that gave us the 2009 cutoff date for analog TV broadcasts has been challenged on procedural grounds almost since its (supposed) passage. (The procedure in question could hardly be more basic: The House and Senate failed to pass identical bills.) The Hill brings us up to date on the various federal lawsuits seeking to strike down the Deficit Reduction Act, which contains the DTV provisions.

Even if a judge throws out the law, I would still expect the current Congress to preserve the current Feb. 17, 2009, digital TV deadline by enacting new legislation. They just might sweeten the converter-box subsidy or make other tweaks, but I don’t see the date changing—unless, in the months immediately preceding the transition, consumers hit major snags. If digital TV’s over-the-air reception problems are behind it, and if the converter-box coupon program is run more competently than other projects of the Bush administration, the deadline will stick.

• Links: The Hill, Multichannel News

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