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How the stimulus bill eases the DTV transition

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After years of planning, delays, and budget problems, the digital television transition officially begins Tuesday. One day down, 114 to go. Congress voted to postpone the DTV deadline until June 12. But many stations, fed up with delays or locked into agreements, are sticking to the old date.

This trickle effect marks the latest confusion over the multimillion-dollar transition campaign. The 10 to 20 million households affected by the changeover – i.e., homes with old TVs that rely on antennas – now have several months of staggered programing, with some channels broadcasting as normal and others going all digital.

NBC, CBS, and ABC promised to hold off their transition until June. But, as Reuters points out, "the networks own only about 100 of the 1,800 or so broadcast television stations in the United States, according to an industry group, and 421 already will have stopped broadcasting in analog signals, or will by next week, the Federal Communications Commission said Monday."

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