CEA’s Shapiro: FCC running out of time on plug-and-play

Gary Shapiro, chief lobbyist for the consumer electronics industry, has told the FCC that it must approve the industry plug-and-play compatibility standard by August or miss the 2004 TV model year for easy cable TV hook-ups.

“We believe that lack of rapid FCC action on the cable-consumer electronics compatibility agreement submitted to the FCC on December 11 could put the digital television transition at risk,” said Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. “The fact is that most new TVs are purchased for use on cable systems. For many Americans, the ability to easily access digital content over cable will be the most critical aspect of their decision to acquire a DTV.

The ability to get a cable compatible product to consumers by mid-2004 will require a final decision on plug-and-play compatibility by August 2003. Lack of FCC approval of the plug-and-play agreement will mean that another model year will unnecessarily pass by without an accessible DTV solution for American cable consumers.”

Also on the DTV front, Shapiro told the FCC that the CEA currently is developing point-of-sale educational pieces, including a retailer “tip sheet,” which will provide salespeople and consumers with an overview of DTV terminology and reception requirements. CEA also is co-producing a retailers guide to selling HDTV that will feature frequently asked questions, selling tips and other key information. CEA also helping development an online training and certification program for retailers.

Shapiro’s full comments to the FCC can be accessed via www.CE.org/hdtv.

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