McCain to Hold Digital Hearing


The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing March 1 on the status of
the transition from analog to digital television, chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.)
announced Tuesday.

In a prepared statement, McCain did not provide any details about the scope
of the hearing, nor did he announce a witness list.

The transition is supposed to conclude by Dec. 31, 2006, but TV stations may
retain both their analog and digital licenses until more than 85 percent of
households in a market have digital-reception capability.

In January, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules that prevent
TV stations from demanding carriage of their digital-TV signals before they have
surrendered their analog licenses.

All 1,288 commercial TV stations are required by the FCC to commence digital
broadcasting by May 2002, but only 182 stations are on the air in digital so