Congress has mandated that after February 17, 2009, television stations
across the country must transmit only in digital signals, and may no
longer transmit analog signals. After that date, consumers who rely on
antennas (including outside antennas and "rabbit ears") to receive
broadcast signals on TV sets having only analog tuners will need to obtain
separate digital-to-analog set-top converter boxes to watch over-the-air
The Commission's DTV-related enforcement efforts have focused on
protecting consumers by enforcing our rules as this transition takes
place. To date, the Commission has taken enforcement action in
several areas: (1) the prohibition on the importation and shipment of
television receivers without integrated digital tuners; (2) the
labeling requirement for television receivers incapable of receiving
over-the-air digital signals without a converter box; (3) the
requirement that digital television receivers possess full V-Chip
functionality, including not only the ability to block offensive
programming, but also the ability to adjust to a future rating
system; and (4) the DTV consumer education requirements for
broadcasters, telecom carriers, cable operators, manufacturers, and
DTV tuner enforcement. The Commission's digital tuner rule specifies that
as of March 1, 2007 all new television receivers must include digital
tuners. This rule prohibits the manufacture, import, or interstate
shipment of any device containing an analog tuner, unless it also contains
a digital tuner. The Commission receives complaints and monitors U.S.
Customs data to determine if companies are importing or shipping equipment
with analog-only tuners in violation of this rule.
DTV Tuner enforcement actions.
Analog-only labeling enforcement. Despite the prohibition on manufacture
and shipment, retailers may continue to sell analog-only television
receivers from existing inventory. As a result, at the point of sale many
consumers may not be aware that this equipment will not be able to receive
over-the-air-television signals after February 17, 2009. To address this
issue, the FCC has adopted a rule requiring sellers to display in their
stores, catalogs, and websites the following text if they are selling TV
equipment that only has an analog broadcast tuner:
This television receiver only has an analog broadcast tuner and will
require a converter box after February 17, 2009 to receive over-the-air
broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation's transition to digital
broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with
cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and
similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications
Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the
Commission's digital television website at: www.dtv.gov.
Analog-only Labeling enforcement actions.
DTV V-Chip enforcement. FCC rules require that, effective March 15, 2006,
manufacturers and importers of digital television receiving equipment
shipped in interstate commerce must ensure that their devices have the
ability to block programs using the universal V-Chip rating system
currently used by broadcasters. Section 15.120(d)(2) of the Commission's
rules also requires manufacturers to ensure that their digital television
receiving devices have the ability "to respond to changes in the content
advisory rating system."
DTV V-Chip enforcement actions.
DTV Consumer Education enforcement. On February 19, 2008, the
Commission adopted requirements for broadcasters, manufacturers,
Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (i.e., cable and
satellite television providers), Eligible Telecommunications Carriers
(ETCs), and others to educate the public about the upcoming digital
transition. Specifically, broadcasters must air Public Service
Announcements, screen crawls, and other transmissions with
information about the digital transition and the NTIA
digital-to-analog converter box coupon program. Broadcasters also
must report their compliance with these requirements on a quarterly
basis. MVPDs must send information about the transition and
converter box coupon program to their customers via monthly bill
inserts. ETCs must send similar information to customers
participating in the Lifeline/Link-Up programs, which provide
low-income consumers with assistance in obtaining telephone service.
Manufacturers must include notices of the digital transition and the
converter box coupon program with certain devices manufactured after
May 30, 2008.
DTV Consumer Education enforcement actions.
Complaints about potential violations of any of the above requirements may be filed via:
- Electronic Complaint Form
FCC Form 2000
- U.S. Mail sent to:
Federal Communications Commission
It will help us expedite the processing of your complaint if you also send a copy to:
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
Enforcement Bureau, Spectrum Enforcement Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
- Electronic Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Toll Free: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY
- Fax: 1-866-418-0232