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CEA Warns of Possible Converter Box Shortage

Related: The DTV Countdown - Complete Coverage of the DTV Transition

The Consumer Electronics Association said Wednesday it will update consumer education to reflect Congress's decision to move the DTV transition date from Feb. 17 to June 12, but also warned of uncertainty and possible equipment shortfalls.

The House Wednesday voted not only to extend the date, but to allow millions of TV households to reapply for expired DTV-to-analog converter box coupons. During debate over the bill, one Republican talked of finding thousands of converter boxes piled waste deep, while a Democrat countered that he could not find any at his electronics retail store.

The boxes allow analog-only TV's to display a DTV signal.

"CEA again pledges full support for a successful transition to digital television," said CEA President Gary Shapiro, who has long championed holding to the Feb. 17 hard date.

But he added a warning: “As CEA has repeatedly cautioned, this date change will inject uncertainty into the market and may result in a shortage of converter boxes."

He said that was because manufacturers and retailers had planned their inventory based on the Feb. 17 date.

"CEA urges Congress and the Administration to take the necessary steps to ensure converter box availability and to urge consumers to act immediately to enjoy the benefits of DTV,” said Shapiro.