Skip to main content

FCC Report Flags TV Interference Problems

Eighty-four percent of consumer complaints to the FCC were related to DTV issues, according to report on consumer inquiries complaints for the second quarter of 2008 released last week.

The total number of radio and television inquiries decreased by 63 percent, as compared to the first quarter of 2008, whole the number of radio and television broadcasting complaints fell even more, from 122,104 in the first quarter to 30,317 in the second quarter. Indecency and obscenity complaints comprised over 82 percent of the complaints.

Looking at the detailed tables in the report, I noticed that interference inquiries were third in line, after DTV and broadcast programming issues, accounting for 960 inquiries.

On the complaint side, DTV issues (with 282 complaints) ranked fourth, behind two programming categories (indecency/obscenity and general criticism) and “other programming issues.” Under the “Cable & Satellite Services” heading, there were an additional 609 off-air reception device issues, third behind DTV issues and billing and rates issues.

While the report does not break out the nature of the interference or reception issues, among the many comments and inquiries I've received, interference to reception of distant TV stations from nearby Low-Power or full power TV stations on the same channel or adjacent channels is quite common. It will be interesting to see how compressing most DTV stations into Channels 7-51 and the rollout of TV white space devices will impact FCC inquiries and complaints.

Read all of RF Reporthere.

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.