January 15, 2009 / 4:24 PM / 10 years ago

$650 million more sought for digital TV transition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the House of Representatives proposed $650 million to continue the coupon program for the transition to digital television, according to a summary of the economic stimulus legislation released by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Congress mandated the February 17 switch to digital television, which will affect some 20 million consumers who do not already use the technology. Owners of older television sets receiving over-the-air signals must buy converter boxes, replace their TVs with digital models, or subscribe to satellite or digital cable service.

But the government has said it had run out of $40 discount coupons for consumers to help pay for converter boxes needed to keep their sets from going blank, leading to calls for delaying the analog switch-off and for more money in the economic stimulus package for the program.

Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by Gerald E. McCormick

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