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Senate Commerce Committee Wants DTV-Transition Update

The Senate Commerce Committee wants an update on the progress of the digital-TV transition.

The committee, chaired by Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) will hold an October hearing on government and industry perspectives on the move toward a February 2009 date for ending analog over-the-air broadcasts in all but a few cases.

Legislators are particularly concerned that the viewers -- who are also consitutents -- get the message about what kind of technology they need and the existence of a government subsidy for converter boxes to ensure that over-the-air viewers with analog-only sets can still receive a TV picture after the switch.

The hearing is scheduled for Oct. 17.

The Senate Special Committee on Aging last week held a hearing at which its chairman, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), introduced a bill to create a task force to coordinate the efforts of the FCC, which is handling the technical and public service issues, and the National Telecommunications & Information Association, which is handling the converter-box-subsidy program, with an assist from subcontractor IBM.