U.S. House Scuttles Delay Of Digital TV

The U.S. House just voted to defeat a bill, passed unanimously Monday by the U.S. Senate, that would have delayed the switch of television broadcasts from analog to digital. This means that mobile TV will likely go on as scheduled.

The news comes as a relief to broadcasters and advertisers, as well as mobile marketers. Without the switch, mobile TV broadcasts would not have moved forward as Adena had told us earlier this month, because mobile television uses the same technology as digital TV. And it’s especially good news for Qualcomm, for reasons Michael told us on Monday.

Of course, worries are that consumers will lose out. The U.S. Senate had agreed with the Obama administration that consumers aren’t ready for the changeover, scheduled for Feb. 17, since a national voucher system for free digital converters has reached a funding limit while millions of denizens are still waiting for their coupons. Indeed, the venerable news service Reuters even posted a story saying that the House had passed the delay–an error that perhaps indicates just how strong are the wishes of those who wanted digital TV to happen four months later, on June 12. (The report has since been corrected.)

But there is a silver lining: Consumers without converters can always receive TV broadcasts on their phones. Sorry if that sounds a little, well, “Let them eat cake.” But the digital switchover ultimately means greater options–for audiences as well as marketers–as it brings TV from living rooms to consumers’ hands. In the end, that’s a good thing.