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FCC’s Powell pushes DTV

October 11, 2004

FCC Chairman Michael Powell discusses his new HDTV iniative designed to push digital broadcasting.
Acknowledging consumer confusion about the changing digital television landscape, FCC Chairman Michael Powell launched a consumer marketing campaign to push digital broadcasting. This included an appearance during halftime on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” telecast last week, where he said the digital transition was in the hands of consumers.

Powell that while for the vast majority of American households, digital television may be uncharted territory, the commission is ready to serve as a primary resource for quick answers.

As part of the initiative, Powell announced a new Web portal to serve as a one-stop source of information on the DTV transition and available HD programming. The site allows consumers to find a list of HD channels available in their home, answers to frequently asked questions about the DTV transition and a guide for DTV shoppers.

The FCC also announced a joint effort with the Consumer Electronic Association (CEA) and the Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition (CERC) on the creation and distribution of a DTV Tip Sheet. The new consumer tip sheet describes digital television features and equipment and provides a glossary of common terms. The tip sheet also explains that TV sets with only analog tuners will need a separate converter box in the future to receive over-the-air signals after TV stations turn off their analog signals.

CERC’s Board Member companies - Best Buy, Circuit City, RadioShack and Tweeter - have agreed to distribute the DTV Tip Sheet to the public at their retail outlets. Powell said he looks forward to working with more retailers to make this information available for distribution in their stores.

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