Date of Original Version
Communications Magazine, IEEE , vol.44, no.6, pp.22-23, June 2006
Abstract or Table of Contents
In 1996, Congress gave American broadcasters spectrum for digital television. Congress imposed a nominal deadline of December 2006 when broadcasters would cease analog transmissions and relinquish spectrum. However, this deadline applies only where 85% of households have televisions that can receive digital signals. That goal seems as far away today as it did in 1996, leaving American television trapped in a costly limbo. Broadcasters operate both analog and digital systems, and occupy vast amounts of precious spectrum. Meanwhile, few TV viewers see a difference. Consensus has recently emerged in Congress to push the transition forward, although opinions differ on specifics.