Shapiro tells committee ‘disenfranchisement’ claims are exaggerated

July 20, 2005

Testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee last week, Gary Shapiro, Consumer Electronics president and CEO, told lawmakers that a hard date for analog switch off is a “win-win” for all stakeholders.

A firm deadline for cessation of the analog TV transmission will “foster innovation” and “strengthen national security,” he said, referring to the portion of the reclaimed bandwidth that will be used for emergency first responder communications.

While some television viewers will lose service when the transition to digital is complete, the number of disenfranchised viewers has been “exaggerated,” he said.

Shapiro told lawmakers a recent survey revealed 87 percent of the 110 million U.S. TV households are receiving local and national broadcast programming via cable or satellite. An additional 32.7 million of the 285 million TV sets are being used to receive over-the-air TV transmissions.

The analog TV cut-off will “have only a small practical impact on the viewing habits of the vast majority of Americans,” he said.

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