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FCC Says Real-Time PSIP Program Guide Updates Not Required

May 30, 2008 was the deadline for all DTV stations to transmit PSIP information in compliance with ATSC Standard A/65C. This requirement was contained in the FCC’s Third DTV Periodic Report and Order. Some companies interpreted this as requiring real-time updating of program guide information in PSIP when a program runs long or the program schedule is changed at the last minute.

The Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Harris Corp., and Cohen, Dippell and Everist PC requested clarification of the Report and Order, noting that PSIP automation equipment was not currently available.

In an Order on Clarification (FCC 08-141) released Thursday the FCC stated: “While we encourage stations to update the EIT as rapidly as possible when overages or other circumstances result in changes to scheduled programs, our rules and policies do not require that updates be accomplished in real time.”

The FCC Order on Clarification noted that the rule which had been adopted in the Third DTV Periodic incorporated, by reference, the ATSC PSIP standard (A/65C) and that this does not require real-time updating. However, the Commission said that the matter might be revisited if the ATSC PSIP standard is changed.

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.