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Ion TV Delays HD Launch

Posted at 6:00 AM ET, Feb. 17, 2009
Saying it wanted to "reduce consumer confusion" surrounding Congress' decision to move the DTV hard date, Ion Television announced Monday it will push back its launch in high definition one month.

Ion was planning to launch in HD on Feb. 16, in 20 markets where it has TV stations. Now those same 20 will launch March 16, with the other 40 stations coming on board later in the year.

Ion's 40 other stations--it is the largest station owner in terms of number of stations--are still going to make the transition to digital on Feb. 17, but about two thirds of the nation's roughly 1,800 TV stations will be delaying pulling the plug on the analog version of their primary signal after the administration asked, and Congress consented, to move the date.

That will give the government more time to set up call centers and get DTV-to-analog converter box coupons to viewers, though it will also create some confusion as viewers now have several analog cut-off dates to contend with.