The DTV Clusterfuck Continues

We've been talking about the big digital TV transition for over a year now, but apparently some of you are still in the dark.

And with exactly 30 days left in the life of analog television, politicians are now scrambling to delay the inevitable.

Both the House of representatives and the Senate introduced bills last week to move the transition date from Feb. 17 to June 12.

The main problem is that the National Telecommunications & Information Administration's coupon program that issues the $40 coupons for converter boxes ran out of money and the backlog demand is growing steadily. The waiting list is now well over 2 million people and the NTIA says they are receiving hundreds of thousands of request every day.

But it's not just a simple matter of pushing the cut-off date further down in the calendar.

Several companies have all ponied up big money to buy the rights to the analog frequencies that will be vacated when the big switch happens. Qualcom, for example will be using UHF channel 55 to make their new whiz-bang MediaFLO technology function. If the cutoff date is delayed, those businesses will not be able to launch their products, which is going to make a lot of companies really pissed off.

The incoming Obama administration had called for a delay of the DTV switch two weeks ago and the legislation is being fast-tracked so it can quickly be signed into law.

Now that we are 30 days out, things are going to shift into high gear. This is like that scene in "Titanic" where the back end of the ship starts going down for good and people are panicking to find a liferaft, only to discover that there are none.

This issue is going to be talked about a lot in the next few days.

As always, stay tuned.

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