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Terrestrial HD-SD: FCC Asks 'Are You Being Served?'

The Federal Communications Commission has opened a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in regard to the current testing procedures and signal strength parameters being used to determine, in effect, what constitutes reliable HD and SD terrestrial signals from broadcasters in order to determine those households that might be eligible for distant network programming from DBS.

Much the same approach for DBS allowances has been in effect in the analog realm for many years. The NOI is a requirement of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension & Reauthorization Act of 2004 (SHVERA). The FCC will seek information on whether it should account for different antennas (roof or indoor) and antenna orientation, whether to use a standard that does not rely on signal strength, and whether the wide variation in the ability of "reasonably priced" DTV sets to receive terrestrial signals also should be taken into account, among other issues. Docket no. is ET 05-182.

The FCC also issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for comments on whether SHVERA requires carriage of full DTT streams, including multicasts. The Commission already has indicated it does not support DTV must carry, per se, beyond a broadcaster's primary DTV channel.