CEA and NAB agree on set-top boxes

After months of sniping at each other over the details, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the NAB have come to terms over digital set-top boxes. They support them, and think they are needed to provide continuity of broadcast service after analog transmissions have ended.

In a joint filing in response to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) proposed rulemaking regarding a coupon program for digital-to-analog converter boxes, the groups said the “NTIA must ensure that no consumer is left behind.”

The manufacturers and broadcasters also jointly recommended the features of the basic converter boxes that would be eligible for the government’s coupon program, while agreeing that functions such as electronic program guide navigation and “smart antenna” interfaces should not preclude converter boxes from obtaining approval under NTIA’s program.

In addition, the groups urged the NTIA, who will administer the program, not to limit eligibility for converter box coupons to analog-broadcast-only households, arguing that “distributing coupons according to economic need is impractical and inconsistent with Congressional intent.”