The Senate passed a bill on Monday night to delay the nationwide switch to digital TV signals, giving consumers almost four more months to prepare.

Senate Republicans earlier this month blocked a bill to delay the national switch from analog television broadcasting to digital broadcasting, which was originally scheduled for February 17 on concerns that viewers are not technically ready.

The switch will now occur June 12.

Delaying the upcoming DTV switch is the right thing to do, said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D) of West Virginia, who wrote the bill.

I firmly believe that our nation is not yet ready to make this transition at this time.

The time extension will allow consumers with expired coupons -- which are available from the government to offset the cost of a $40 converter box -- to request new coupons.

The government ran out of coupons earlier this month, and about 2.5 million Americans are still on a waiting list for them.