09.03.2003 12:00 PM
NAB commends House bill to accelerate consumer adoption of DTV

The National Association of Broadcasters has expressed its support for a House bill introduced in July that aims at removing some of the impediments to broad adoption of digital television service by U.S. consumers.

Entitled the Consumer Access to Digital Television Enhancement Act of 2003, the bill calls for the FCC to:

  • adopt the memorandum of understanding between the cable and consumer industries concerning compatibility between cable systems and consumer electronics equipment;

  • require TV receivers marked as digital cable-ready to have the ability to receive over-the-air DTV signals;

  • establish a deadline by which TV broadcasters must at a minimum transmit their DTV signals at sufficient power to match their Grade A NTSC service contour with their DTV transmissions.

In a letter from NAB senior vice president John Orlando dated July 23 to bill co-sponsor Lee Terry (R-Neb.), the association applauds the efforts of bill to “facilitate consumer adoption of DTV technology.”

“As you are aware, the transition to digital television (DTV) constitutes a watershed change for free, over-the-air television broadcasters,” Orlando’s letter said. “To date, 941 television stations in 195 television markets that serve 98.8 percent of U.S. TV households are broadcasting in digital. These stations have built their DTV facilities at a cost of over a billion dollars. Now, they are bearing the operating costs of broadcasting two signals: their new DTV signal to move into the digital future and their old, analog signal, to continue serving local viewers who have not yet transitioned to DTV. Your legislation will speed consumer acceptance of DTV, thus moving these broadcasters and the nation closer to ultimate conversion to an all-DTV television world.”

The letter praised the bill’s provisions mandating the FCC to adopt the DTV interoperability agreement between the cable and consumer electronics industry and its requirement that new digital cable-ready sets be able to receive over-the-air digital TV signals.

In his letter, Orlando said the association believes that some “technical modifications” are needed to “comport standards references with updated versions of standards, correct inconsistencies (some with existing rules) and clarify that certain elements of a referenced standard are mandatory.” (See the last issue of RF Update for a discussion of existing rules.)

To read the bill in its entirety visit: http://thomas.loc.gov. Enter H.R. 2825 into the “Bill Number” search field.

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