A bill intended to delay the US’s transition to digital TV has been defeated in the House of Representatives.

An estimated 6.5 million Americans are not yet prepared for the switch, which now reverts back to the original date of 17 February.

The action comes less than two days after the US Senate unanimously voted to move the switch date to 12 June.

The House blocked the bill, saying postponing the action would only cause confusion for consumers and increase costs for broadcasters.

It needed two-thirds of the votes of the House under "special rules adopted for the vote," but the result was just 258 to 168 in favor of changing the date.

From 17 February, all television broadcasters are legally required to shut off analog signals and air only digital programming.

Viewers using analog TV sets and antennas to receive broadcasts will need to upgrade to a digital TV set or install a converter box to get signals.

Funds totalling USD $1.34 billion for government-issued vouchers to help consumers pay for digital TV converter boxes has been used up.

The converter boxes cost between USD $50 and USD $80.

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