Senate Votes To Delay Digital TV Switchover, Modestly Bad News For Cable, Telco (CMCSA, T)

The U.S. Senate has voted to delay the switch to all-digital TV to June 12, giving consumers about four more months to prepare. The previous switchover was scheduled for Feb. 17. The House now has to vote on the plan.

If passed, what does this mean? Americans who still watch analogue TV with rabbit ears or other analogue antennae still need to buy (or get a federal coupon for) a digital converter box — they’ll just have more time to do so.

Or they need to sign up for digital TV service from a cable company like Comcast (CMCSA) or Time Warner Cable (TWC), a telco like AT&T (T) or Verizon (VZ), or a satellite company like DirecTV (DTV).

The delay could be modestly bad news for those pay TV providers, as they might not sign up some incremental new subscribers as quickly as they were counting on.

It could also be modestly bad news for the wireless divisions at AT&T and Verizon, and companies like Qualcomm (QCOM), which recently bought the airwaves being used for analogue TV in a FCC auction to offer next-generation wireless services.

But on Verizon’s Q4 earnings call this morning, the company said the switchover delay shouldn’t slow down rollout of its next-generation wireless network, which will use a technology called LTE.

See Also:
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Clearwire CEO: Not Married To WiMax If Rival Format Takes Off
New Wireless Deals, Tech To Shake Up Industry… Maybe, Someday

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