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AARP Wants More Help From DTV Subsidy

The American Association of Retired Persons is likely to weigh in again on the DTV transition bill following House Commerce Committee approval last week of a Republican version with a limited subsidy for digital-to-analog converter boxes.

It would likely be in the form a "Dear Senator" letter simliar to a "Dear Represenative" letter it sent out this week. The Senate will likely hold a floor vote on its version of the bill, which did not spell out how the subsidy would be administered, but does allocate $3 billion.

AARP is afraid that number will be cut, which could come in a floor amendment or in conference to reconcile it with the House bill.

The association is concerned about the 8-plus-million people over 50 who rely on over-the-air TV.

The House version is a first-come, first-served $990 million program that could conceivable only cover 10.3 million of the 21 million analog-only homes, and does not guarantee any of them a subsidy if those 10.3 million homes happen to be cable and satellite homes taking care of second or third sets in the house that are analog only.

Since forms will be available online, AARP points out that the subsidy will favor those with internet access.

According to AARP's Debra Berlyn, the group is also concerned that there is no language about help with delivery and installation for those who do get the boxes, say having to deal with an 80-pound TV in a cabinet.