FCC Rejects Argument for Excluding ATSC Tuners in Some TV Sets

The FCC has turned down a request from PDI Communications Systems to exempt its sets from the commission's DTV tuner requirements.

PDI, a Springboro, Ohio-based developer of televisions and video distribution systems for the health care industry, asked the FCC to state that the DTV tuner requirements do not apply to viewing units included in specialized video systems such as the PDI system, or, alternatively, modify the rules to allow the commission to consider on a case-by-case basis viewing units used in specialized video systems, if applying the rule would not advance the FCC's stated objectives, (which are outlined in the commission's Second Report and Order advancing the date by which TV sets other broadcast TV devices such as VCRs that do not have screens must be able to receive DTV broadcasts (ET Docket 05-24)). The PDI system is used to provide specialized programming and broadcast TV reception to medical patients such as those on dialysis.

"While the PDI viewing units are different than most TV receivers with screens smaller than 13 inches in that they are designed to receive service from a separate antenna connected through a cable rather than an attached antenna, that does not alter the fact that the PDI units would not be able to receive off-the-air TV signals when analog TV service ends unless they include a DTV tuner," the FCC said in its response denying the petition. "We also conclude that it would be inconsistent with these goals to establish a process that would provide for favorable treatment of requests for waiver of the DTV tuner requirement for TV receivers used in specialized video systems. As indicated above, we believe it important to ensure that new TV receiver products include DTV reception as soon as possible."

The FCC recognized that the safety requirements for these devices as well as PDI's position as a smaller manufacturer could make it difficult for PDI to meet the March 1, 2007 date and extended the date on which new units of the PERSONA 9 (Model PDI-P9TV) and PERSONA 10 (Model PDI-P10-LCD must comply with the requirement by one year to March 1, 2008.

Additional information is available in Order FCC 06-123.