03.22.2004 12:00 PM
Powell proposal could result in “aficionado” prices for new TV sets

Eliot Engel, a Democratic congressman from New York’s 17th District, charged that any attempt to speed up achievement of the 85 percent DTV penetration statistic could “require the poorest Americans to pay ‘aficionado’ prices for new TV sets or set-top boxes.”

Engel, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees broadcasting, said the availability of affordable television equipment is a key to the digital transition..

Engel said FCC chairman Powell’s proposal, as reported in the above story, to count television viewers who receive downconverted digital signals in analog format “will create a disincentive for the American consumer to purchase digital televisions.” Consequently, he said, lower prices will not occur.

He argued that the move would result in low income and poor families having to spend more money just to continue to receive free, over-the-air television.

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