FCC modifies digital tuner requirements

The FCC has denied a request by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Consumer Electronics Retailers Association (CERC) to delay the date by which 50 percent of mid-size TV receivers manufactured and imported must include built-in DTV tuners.

To further its efforts to ensure that consumers are able to receive off-the-air digital broadcast television services, the FCC also moved up the date by which all mid-sized TV sets must include a digital television (DTV) tuner.

The commission’s rules already provide that:

  • Televisions 36in and larger and 50 percent of mid-sized sets (25in-36in) must have built-in DTV tuners by July 1, 2005.
  • All mid-sized sets must have DTV tuners by July 1, 2006.
  • All receivers with a screen size of 13in or more, as well as other all other TV receiving devices (such as VCRs, DVD-Rs, etc.) must have DTV tuners by July 1, 2007.

The commission has moved up the date for 100 percent compliance for mid-sized TV receivers from July 1, 2006 to March 1, 2006, the earliest feasible date according to the industry.

In the same action, the commission proposed to make Dec.31, 2006 the final date by which all TV receivers with screen sizes 13in or larger and other TV receiving devices, i.e., those without a viewing screen, must have DTV tuners. That date is also the statutory target date for the end of the DTV transition and the corresponding end of analog broadcast television transmissions. TV interface devices should be required to meet this timetable. Finally it asked whether a DTV tuner requirement should be extended to TV receivers with a screen size smaller than 13in. Public comment is sought on these proposals.

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