People may have a little more time to sort through the digital TV conversion, as the Senate voted unanimously Monday to delay the upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting by four months, to June 12.

Congress could pass the proposal as early as today.

Congress originally mandated in 2005 that at midnight on Feb. 17 of this year, all full-power television stations in the United States switch to 100 percent digital broadcasting.

The U.S. government reasons digital broadcasting will provide a clearer picture, more programming options and will free up airwaves for use by emergency responders.

The delay was pushed by the Obama administration and Democrats in light of concerns America wasn’t ready for the changeover.

The Associated Press reported the Nielsen Co. estimates more than 6.5 million U.S. households that rely on analog television sets to pick up over-the-air broadcast signals might have darkened TV screens if the transition is not postponed.

A lot of confusion has surfaced about what changes households need to make.

Many will need to do nothing, because if a TV receives local broadcast stations through a paid provider such as cable or satellite, it already is prepared for the transition.

However, an analog TV that does not receive local broadcast stations through the paid provider will require a converter box to watch digital broadcasts on that TV.

If a TV receives good reception on analog channels 2 through 51 with an existing antenna, a new antenna should not be necessary.

Analog televisions should continue to work with gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players and similar products.

And those with digital TV, which means a TV with a built-in digital tuner, also are ready. For those wishing to invest in a new TV, one doesn’t have to buy a high definition TV, only a digital TV.

Those wanting to continue using an analog television can do so by connecting the TV to a digital-to-analog converter box.

Such boxes are available in many stores and cost between $40 and $70. To help with the transition, Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program, which offers two $40 coupons per household to help pay for the boxes.

However, AP reports the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the arm of the Commerce Department administering the program, is sending out coupons only as older, unredeemed ones expire and free up more money because earlier this month, the Commerce Department hit a $1.34 billion funding limit for the coupons.

As of Wednesday, the NTIA has almost 2.6 million coupon requests on a waiting list, the AP reports.

For those choosing to upgrade to a new TV, one question that arises is what to do with an old analog set.

One option is to take it to the Harvey County Transfer station to be recycled.

Roy Patton, solid waste supervisor for the county, said they will accept televisions up to 36 inches. Console TVs cannot be accepted for recycling. The fee for a 13-inch television is $1, and larger ones are $3.

The TVs will be transferred to Leavenworth prison in the UNICOR recycling program, where the components are recycled.

Larger televisions and console televisions will be accepted for the landfill, but they fall under the minimum $7 fee, so Patton advised those bringing a TV to bring a truckload of stuff because up to 500 pounds is still $7.

The Salvation Army and Et Cetera Shop in Newton do not accept televisions.

For more information on the government coupon program or the transition in general, visit or call (888) 388-2009 (voice) or (877) 530-2634 (TTY).

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this story.