Fresno, CA, USA (KSEE) -- It's estimated that more than 20-million households receive over-the-air signals exclusively in their homes, no cable, no satellite. If you're one of those 20 or so-million, you may get an extra four months to prepare for TV’s transition to digital.
For months, millions of Americans have been awaiting television's big switch to digital.
But chances are the wait, will increase by four months from the date initially mandated by congress.
Monday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would delay the digital transition from February 17th to June 12th, mainly because lawmakers are concerned that an estimated 20-million, mostly poor, elderly and rural households just aren't ready to make the switch.
Consumer advocate Chris Murray agrees.
Chris Murray, Consumer Union: ""We feel that a small delay of 3 to 4 months tops would help us get more boots on the ground, make sure that the most-at-risk and vulnerable consumers would get the converter boxes hooked up."
Earlier this month, on our DTV special, viewers phoned in to have their questions answered the switch-over.
Many inquired about this converter box: a must-have piece of equipment if you own an older TV set, and don't already subscribe to cable or satellite television.
Lawmakers say with this 4-month extension, consumers will also have more time to request 40-dollar coupons from the government, to help offset the cost of the converter box.
Good thing, because earlier this month, more than 46-million were requested. causing the government to run out of coupons and money.
Today, 2.5 million remain on a waiting list, while many consider dropping their satellite and cable providers all together, as these tough economic times continue to take a toll.
Murray: "We wanna make sure that if people decide they’re gonna cut the cord don t have to incur additional costs on top of difficult economic times."
The measure will now go to the house for consideration.
If the digital transition is pushed back to June 12th, local television stations could still choose to go ahead with the transition.
Hawaii was the first state to switch-over on January 15th.