04.18.2006 11:26 AM
NAB, CEA question California Energy Commission mandatory regulation

The Consumer Electronics Association and the NAB issued a statement last week objecting to the imposition of mandatory regulatory power consumption requirements on digital-to-analog over-the-air converters by the California Energy Commission.

In January, the commission proposed that digital to analog (DTA) converters be subject to California’s mandatory standard of 8W power dissipation on 1W standby. The commission is expected to respond soon to public comments requesting the regulation be rescinded. Such DTA converters will be necessary for owners of conventional sets to continue to receive television once analog service is switched off April 19, 2009.

In the statement, the associations “strongly urged” the commission to withdraw its energy regulations from covering DTA converters. If imposed, the regulation may limit the availability of such converters and raise their cost “potentially leaving millions of Californians on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

While both associations acknowledged the importance of saving energy, the statement said the commission’s regulation “misses the point.” “The digital television transition itself will save energy as broadcasters stop running both analog and digital transmitters,” the statement said. It also pointed to development of multifunction consumer electronics devices “that combine the operations once performed by a series of products into one converged device” as evidence of the industry’s efforts to reduce overall energy consumption.

The joint statement also quoted Charles Jablonski, former vice president of Broadcast and Network Engineering at NBC, saying “it is unconscionable that any agency with a mandate to work for the public interest could be foolish enough to place any unilateral impediment or single out the last key enabler of this long anticipated transition with an arbitrary rule like this."

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