The Feds’ attempt to postpone the U.S. switchover to digital-only TV has come up short, MarketWatch reports. This means the transition will occur on Feb. 17, as has been planned for years, instead of a last-minute delay to June.
This is modestly good news for cable companies like Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC), telcos like Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), and satellite TV providers like DirecTV (DTV), which expect to sign up incremental customers because of the digital transition.
It’s also modestly good news for wireless carriers Verizon, AT&T, and Qualcomm (QCOM), which bought billions of dollars worth of analogue TV airwaves in last year’s FCC auction to use for wireless services.
Some 6.5 million homes are not set up to receive digital TV, the Nielsen Company said last week. That’s down from 8 million last month. But either way, millions of Americans — especially the elderly — could be without TV beginning Feb. 17 — until they figure out they need to get a digital covertor box or sign up for cable.
The bill passed the Senate, and the majority of House members voted for it. But it didn’t get the required two-thirds House majority to pass.