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Eye On Boise

Digital conversion still up in the air

Idaho Public Television was braced for extra costs of $9,000 a month if federal authorities delayed the digital TV changeover, and no source for the funds - and then the U.S. House voted Wednesday to reject the delay. "I suspect it is not the final word," Peter Morrill, IPTV general manager, said Wednesday afternoon. "Today's vote certainly is an interesting turn of events."

Morrill presented the IPTV budget request to lawmakers Wednesday morning - it anticipates a reduction in state funding - and one of the first questions was how much it would cost IPTV if the planned Feb. 17 switch from analog to digital broadcasting was delayed. Morrill said the $9,000-a-month cost assumes "nothing breaks" in the 15-year-old equipment that would keep running for an unplanned additional four months. But it also assumes the Federal Communications Commission would require analog broadcasts to continue 24 hours a day, at full power. If the FCC allowed reductions, in hours or power levels, the cost could drop, he said. "The Feb. 17 date was established by Congress in 2005," Morrill said. "Idaho Public Television is ready, local TV stations are all ready."

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.