DTV Tuners Now Included in All Sets

As of Thursday, March 1, all TV products shipped with analog tuners will also include DTV tuners--the latest benchmark leading to the final transition to all digital broadcasting by February 2009. The notice this week includes sets smaller than 25 inches; all new sets now come under the DTV tuner mandate.

While the Consumer Electronics Association points out in a statement that consumers are not required to purchase new sets in order to continue receiving programming after the transition, it adds, "In order to enjoy the full benefits of DTV--particularly high-definition television with its eye-popping pictures and digital surround sound--the consumer would want to purchase an HDTV."

Last year, the CEA's Video Division Board adopted voluntary language for manufacturers and retailers to alert consumers who purchase analog-only sets that digital converter boxes will be required for over-the-air reception starting in February 2009.

In a letter this month to more than 600 retailers, CEA President Gary Shapiro encouraged retailers to include the analog labeling language in product displays as an additional measure to ensure consumers are informed. Recent surveys have found that large segments of the public still are unaware of the analog cut-off looming less than 24 months from now.