FCC chief shows frustration with broadcasters at CES

FCC Chairman Michael Powell expressed frustration with over-the-air broadcasters as he joined the annual celebration of consumer electronics in Las Vegas last week.

Fielding questions on a range of technology and regulatory topics, Powell expressed frustration with the progress of the broadcast transition from analog to digital transmission, CNET reported.

The lack of a date certain for the transition is resulting in needless confusion for consumers, Powell said. "Consumers need to be told, when they're at Circuit City and they have to choose between a $300 analog set and a $3000 digital set — 'When do I have to have this?'" he said. "They deserve an answer...what we have now is absolute ambiguity."

Powell told his CES audience that the FCC would have to settle on a hard deadline by late this year, and the sooner the better, given the consumer lust for high-tech TV sets.

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