Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin has advised President-elect Barack Obama’s administration not to delay the transition to digital television, reports InformationWeek. The transition is scheduled to take place Feb. 17, when all analog signals would cease. Last week, Obama urged Congress to postpone the deadline so Americans would have more time to buy converter boxes. Only television viewers with old analog sets with antennas or rabbit ears need converter boxes; cable TV customers already have the technology needed to view programs after the transition. Many people who need converter boxes have low or fixed incomes, and all were eligible for a $40 coupon program for reimbursement. However, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced Jan. 5 that the federal funds for the coupons had been depleted, and anyone else who requested coupons would be put on a waiting list. That prompted several politicians, including Obama, to call for postponement of the transition deadline. More than 1.1 million Americans are on a waiting list for coupons, and a recent report from Nielsen Media Research found that 8 million American households are unprepared for the switch. But delays would only add to the confusion, Martin said. During a question-and-answer session at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, he said many broadcasters have already begun disposing of their analog equipment and performing related construction. Congress instead should consider alternatives, such as adding funds to the coupon program, Martin said…

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