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FCC Consumer Bureau Sees Increase in DTV Complaints

An FCC report released this week shows interest in broadcast DTV is not decreasing. Indeed, the FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau's Summary of Top Consumer Inquiry Subjects – Fourth Quarter – Calendar Year 2010 reports 1,793 "Digital TV Issues," an increase of over 140 percent from the 2009 report, which started only three months after the completion of the DTV transition.

The number of 4Q2010 DTV inquiries is greater than the number of wireless telecommunications service related and interference inquiries combined. It was over double the number of inquiries about wireless billing and rates.

The total number of cable and satellite services inquiries was 1,922 in 4Q2010, only 129 more than the DTV issues alone. Of those 1,922, 385 were related to over-the-air reception device issues.

It will be hard for the FCC to ignore the growing interest in broadcast digital DTV reflected in the CGB's numbers when it considers the impact of following the National Broadband Plan's recommendation to take away over half the usable TV channels. While the FCC Chairman claims he can do this without hurting broadcasters and consumers who watch TV over-the-air, the engineering does not support that claim and the FCC has offered no technical data to back it up. See more about this in a story on Representative John Dingell's letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski in RF Shorts.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.