Congress Passes Digital Television Delay

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that would delay the United States’ transition to digital television by four months, shifting the transition date from February 17, 2009 to June 12, 2009. The bill is now going to President Obama to be signed into law; the President has said he supports the delay due to concerns an estimates 20 million Americans (mainly poor, elderly, and rural homes) were not ready for the transition.

Critics of delaying the transition have claimed that backing off the February 17, 2009 deadline would create consumer confusion…and here’s where some of that confusion might begin. Just because the transition date has been pushed back to June doesn’t mean that individual stations will keep their analog broadcasts running until then. Under the legislation, full-power broadcast stations can shut down their analog broadcasts and go all-digital before June 12 simply by notifying the FCC—and it appears many broadcast stations in major markets appear to do just that. There are roughly 1,800 major television broadcast stations in the United States. Although many may choose to keep their analog broadcasts running for competitive reasons—particularly during March "sweeps," a period which largely determines advertising rates for networks and stations—many have already put down substantial money to shut down analog broadcasts on February 17, and delaying the transition may be financially or logistically difficult at late date.

Congress has also approved additional funding for its digital converter box program, which offers $40 vouchers to U.S. residents to offset the cost of buying a convert to use old-style analog sets with digital broadcasts. Industry estimates indicate roughly 13 million vouchers were issues but never redeemed.

The digital TV delay also means extending 700 MHz spectrum licenses bought by the likes of AT&T and Verizon, which the companies intend to use to roll out so-called 4G mobile broadband services. Both companies have agreed to a one-time delay and license term extension.

Gaming

The Army wants YOU … to play esports with soldiers

The U.S. Army is creating esports teams for games such as Overwatch, Fortnite, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and League of Legends. The initiative looks to boost recruitment, after missing the mark for the first time since 2005.
Mobile

How does fast charging work? Here’s every single standard compared

Modern smartphones can charge in mere minutes instead of hours. How does fast charging work? Here's a guide to the most popular standards, including Qualcomm Quick Charge, Apple fast charging, OnePlus Dash Charge, and more.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Cars

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.
Home Theater

The seven best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2018.
Home Theater

Don’t cash in that 401(k)! These are the best TVs you can get for under $500

These days, $500 can get you a pretty nice TV. Still, sorting through thousands of options online can be both boring and overwhelming, so we've put together a quick guide to the best TVs under $500.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

Between sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Deals

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what’s leaving in December 2018

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for December 2018 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.