FCC gives mobile DTV an analog tuner waiver

The FCC has waived a requirement that mobile digital broadcast TV receivers include analog decoding technology.

“As a condition of the waiver, however, we require that responsible parties clearly disclose to consumers that a specific device does not have the capability to receive analog signals, and, where applicable, standard nonmobile digital signals,” the FCC said in its order.

Petitions for the waiver were filed with the FCC by mobile DTV-compliant equipment manufacturers Dell, LG Electronics and Hauppauge Digital. The analog-tuner requirement originated from a 1962 rule requiring all TVs have UHF reception. The rule was amended in 2002 to accommodate the digital TV transition. However, because low-power TV stations and translators continue to broadcast in analog, the analog tuner requirement remained.

The mobile DTV standard, ATSC M/H or A/153, was adopted last October. The manufacturers argued that analog tuners were “inappropriate and unnecessary” for mobile DTV receivers, and the requirement was a “burdensome obligation that would actually diminish the value of these devices to consumers.”

LG said including an analog tuner would mean splitting the input from the reception antenna, diminishing the signal strength by 3dB and in turn, reducing the overall reception area.

The FCC said the waiver covers only TVs capable of receiving ATSC A/153 mobile DTV signals.