Media Bureau grants waiver of NTSC, A/53 receiver requirement for Mobile DTV devices

The FCC Media Bureau granted a rule waiver July 15 allowing three consumer electronics companies filing a waiver request and other similar parties to make, market and sell Mobile DTV receivers without analog and/or standard DTV reception capability.

However, in granting Dell, LG Electronics USA and Hauppauge Computer Works the request to waive Section 15.117 of commission rules, the bureau required any parties making or selling such Mobile DTV-receiver-only devices to clearly inform the public that the specific Mobile DTV device does not include analog and/or standard DTV receivers.

Since June 2009, full power television stations in the United States have transmitted ATSC A/53 digital television. However, many Class A and LPTV stations are still on-air with an NTSC signal. Regardless, the bureau said the commission anticipates requiring LPTV stations to cease analog transmission “within the near future” and will not accept new applications for analog LPTV stations.

In issuing the waiver, the Media Bureau said allowing Mobile DTV-receive-only devices to be made and sold is in the public interest and would assist with the introduction of Mobile DTV receivers that are capable of receiving A/153 digital signals while in motion — something the waiver said could benefit the public during an emergency.

In seeking the waiver, LG, Dell and Happauge pointed out to the commission that having the ability to make devices without NTSC tuners would help speed them to market. Further, they told the commission that like analog signals, A/53 DTV signals are not well suited to mobile reception and asked the commission to leave it to manufacturers to decide whether or not it would be appropriate to include a standard DTV receiver.

The three asked the commission to expedite its decision on whether or not to grant the waiver because they said a mid-summer decision would give them enough time to come to market with Mobile DTV devices by the 2010 holiday shopping season.