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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FCC ISSUES FURTHER ORDER IN DIGITAL TELEVISION TRANSITION; ASKS FOR FURTHER COMMENTS ON DTV RECEIVER ISSUES.
Washington -- The FCC today issued a Report and Order and a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNRPM) in its first periodic review of the digital television (DTV) transition to resolve issues crucial to the rapid conversion of the nation’s broadcast television system from analog to digital.
The Commission also issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to consider whether to require some TV sets to have the capability to demodulate and decode over-the-air DTV signals in addition to displaying the existing analog TV signals.
In raising this issue, the Commission recognized broadcasters’ concerns that DTV receivers are not yet available in sufficient volume to support a rapid transition to an all-digital broadcast television service. It asked whether a requirement to include DTV reception capability in certain television sets could help to develop the production volumes needed to bring DTV receiver prices down quickly to where they are more attractive to consumers and could help to promote a more rapid development of high DTV set penetration.
The Commission asked for comments on how best to implement DTV reception capability requirements, if it were to decide to adopt them. It said it recognized the cost considerations associated with such requirements. The Commission suggested that one approach for minimizing the impact on both consumers and manufacturers would be to impose any requirement first on a percentage of large screen televisions, such as 32 inches and larger, because these are typically higher priced units where the cost of DTV components would be a smaller percentage of the cost of the receiver. In addition, it asked whether any requirement should be phased in over time such that manufacturers would increase each year the percentage of units of a designated screen size or larger that are manufactured each year that would have DTV receive capability. It noted that separate set-top DTV receivers could also be included in meeting the reception capability requirements.
The Commission additionally requested comment on whether it should require any digital television receivers that cannot receive off-the-air digital broadcast signals to carry a label informing consumers of this limitation on the receivers' functionality. This issue concerns receivers that are intended for use only with cable television or broadcast satellite service. The Commission indicated that while it expects that consumers will continue to expect all digital television receivers to be able to receive over-the-air broadcast signals, it suggested that where receivers not able to receive such signals are marketed, consumers should be so notified prior to purchase.
The FCC noted that the Report and Order and the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking were designed to expedite the DTV transition and to provide licensees with a measure of certainty that will enhance their ability to plan facilities, order equipment and arrange for construction of their facilities, all of which will speech the transition to digital service.
Action by the Commission by Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 01-24).
MM Docket #00-39 Mass Media Bureau Contacts: Roger Holberg and Mania Baghdadi (202)-418-2120 Office of Engineering & Technology Contacts: Bruce Franca and Alan Stillwell (202) 418-2470