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Senate Republicans Block DTV Delay Bill

Washington, DC — Senate Republicans have blocked a bill that would delay the nationwide switch from analog to digital television broadcasts until June 12. But Democrats say they will try again to pass the measure next week.

The bill was defeated even after President-elect Barack Obama on Friday urged Congress to postpone the February 17 transition. There have been mounting concerns that too many Americans who rely on analog TV sets to pick up broadcast channels won’t be ready. The federal program that subsidizes converter boxes for such viewers ran out of money this month.

Senate Republicans fear a delay would cause consumer confusion and deprive public safety agencies of chunks of the airwaves that will be freed by the switchover.