NAB has sent a letter to DTV converter box manufacturers urging them to incorporate analog pass-through capability in their DTV converter box products.
Only a few of the 30-plus boxes now eligible for subsidy by government coupons have the pass-through feature. The Community Broadcasters Association and others have said the lack of such a feature could confuse viewers and prevent some from getting the signals.
Asked why the NAB waited until the boxes were almost on store shelves before jumping on the issue, President and CEO David K. Rehr said NAB had called for the pass-through from the beginning.
“We’re now in midstream and the community broadcasters have said there’s an issue,” Rehr said after a press event at Best Buy in Washington, D.C., related to the transition. “We took the position that along the way to the digital transition there will be unintended issues that we face, and we just need to confront them head on.”
He said NAB is furnishing educational materials to community broadcasters and that NAB is helping to identify problem areas. He also said more data is needed about the facilities, their owners and viewers.
He also said broadcasters appointed to the new committee have low-power or translator stations and thus are very involved in the matter.
“I am pretty proud of this, because a lot of people are saying there’s a problem. We’re actually doing something about it,” he said.
Last week, NAB announced the formation of a Low Power TV Issues Committee.
The committee will be chaired by NAB Television board member John Kueneke, broadcast division president for St. Louis-based News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting.
Other members include Jim Conschafter, senior vice president of broadcast stations for Media General Broadcast Group; John Eck, president of NBC TV Network and Media Works; Andrew Fisher, president of Cox Television; Douglas Kranwinkle, executive vice president of law for Univision Communications; and Jim Yager, CEO of Barrington Broadcasting Group.
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