CEA asks court to halt FCC DTV tuner mandate

As promised, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has gone to court to attempt to block the FCC’s summer mandate requiring digital tuners in nearly new television sets by 2007.

The CEA asked the Federal Appeals Court in Washington, D.C., to halt the FCC action, saying the FCC does not have the legal authority to require all TV sets to include digital tuners.

“The vast majority of consumers do not need and will not use these devices in order to receive digital television programming,” the CEA argued in its filing.

Gary Shapiro, CEA president, had promised the court fight moments after the FCC action in August, arguing the tuners are not needed, with fewer than 13 percent of American households relying on over-the-air reception for their TV signal.

Shapiro argued that the FCC’s action wouldn’t accelerate the DTV transition. A successful DTV transition, he said, is dependent on the adoption and implementation of a nationwide standard for sending HD programming over cable—often referred to as cable ‘plug-and-play’ compatibility. The current lack of compatibility is the single largest remaining obstacle to the DTV transition, he argued.

The CEA has been joined by many consumer organizations in vigorously opposing the FCC’s tuner order.

For more information visit www.ce.org.

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