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Three more years of analog TV

Three more years of analog TV

Nobody really thought that Congress would end up enforcing the 2006 turn-off deadline for analog television broadcasts, but now it's semiofficial: the new blackout date will be 2009, according to proposed legislation. At the end of 2008, so the story goes, all TV broadcasters will turn off their over-the-air analog transmissions and leave the spectrum free to be auctioned off--although a good portion will supposedly be used for emergency broadcasts and homeland security. The head of the National Association of Broadcasters is happy about the date, but issues remain. The biggest is that current analog TV receivers will require special converter boxes to receive the new digital broadcasts, and consumer groups are urging Uncle Sam to subsidize the boxes. Seeing that the government will net an estimated $10 billion from the spectrum auction, I don't think that's too much to ask.