Court Upholds FCC Tuner Mandate

(October 28, 2003) Washington, DC--The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has denied a petition for review of the FCC's controversial mandate requiring consumer electronics manufacturers to include a digital television tuner in all television sets by the year 2007. While FCC chairman Michael Powell as well as NAB president Eddie Fritts applauded the decision, the Consumer Electronics Association expressed disappointment with it.

“We’re on track to have most television sets digital-ready by 2007," said Powell in a statement issued by the FCC after the ruling. "This will ensure that consumers are able to enjoy high-quality digital broadcast programming without the hassle and expense of hooking up a separate set-top box."

NAB president Eddie Fritts was also happy with the decision. "The court's decision today upholding the FCC's DTV tuner requirement is a milestone towards completing the DTV transition," he said. "Consumers buying TV sets will know that the receivers they buy will continue to receive all broadcast signals, even as broadcasting changes to digital. Chairman Powell and the FCC deserve congratulations for their strong leadership in advancing the digital transition."

CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro, however, had strong words of opposition. "We obviously are disappointed by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which we are still studying," he said. "We will be reviewing the full opinion and consulting with our member companies, but of course will be compliant with any final court order.

"Everyone involved in the analog to DTV transition is trying his utmost to accomplish shared objectives. We certainly reached a critical tipping point a few weeks ago with the FCC's adoption of the historic cable plug-and-play agreement. From here, the Commission needs to be vigilant in ensuring that this well-crafted plug-and-play agreement is dutifully implemented and enforced with the interests of the American consumer top of mind."