House Passes DTV-Transition Bill

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The House passed a bill Friday morning that would end analog-TV broadcasting at the end of 2008 but would not award extra cable-carriage rights to digital-TV signals.

In addition to setting a digital-TV-transition hard date, the House bill would provide a net $830 million to subsidize set-top boxes to keep analog-TV sets working mainly in homes that do not subscribe to cable or satellite.

The House bill needs to be reconciled with the Senate bill, which included $3 billion for set-tops and an April 7, 2009, analog cutoff.

Although the National Association of Broadcasters pressed lawmakers to require cable carriage of multicast digital-TV services, both chambers have so far declined to do so.

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