CEA supports FCC Chairman on mandatory DTV tuners

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike I, Apr 11, 2002.

  1. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    Electronics makers give jolt to digital TV

    Wed Apr 10, 2:50 AM ET

    By Pamela McClintock

    LAS VEGAS (Variety) - Federal Communications Commission (news - web sites) chairman Michael Powell hit the jackpot Tuesday as the electronics industry reversed itself and embraced the regulator's voluntary plan to begin equipping television sets with digital tuners, beginning New Year's 2004.

    The move marks a major victory for broadcasters and provides a key element in the FCC (news - web sites) chairman's sweeping strategy for jump-starting the nation's faltering transition to digital TV.

    The move could pose significant implications for consumers, who can now expect to see a new generation of TV sets. Until Tuesday, TV manufacturers had vigorously opposed the idea of including digital tuners in sets until stations were indeed broadcasting digitally.

    But the Powell doctrine, made public late last week, calls on electronics manufacturers to proceed, post haste. Powell's proposal went further, calling on all sectors of the TV industry to do their part, including asking the four networks to air half of this fall's prime-time line-up in high-definition broadcasts.

    The Consumer Electronics Assn. (CEA) had been the only group to criticize Powell's plan, and the FCC chair was clearly pleased at the organization's shift.

    Powell said television is at a historical crossroads and that digital TV means more of everything. He said he would be sitting down with media and consumer electronics executives in the coming weeks.

    "You either get on this train, or it will run you over," Powell told attendees at the National Assn. of Broadcasters during an interview with ABC News veteran Sam Donaldson. "A voluntary plan does work. All parties have something to gain."

    CEA president Gary Shapiro issued a statement saying his industry is committed to working with the FCC. Shapiro also was in Sin City for NAB.

    "To that end, we will discuss the chairman's proposal with our manufacturers as soon as possible and examine how we can support our mutual goal of expediting the transition to digital television," Shapiro said. "We call upon all affected industries to join us in recognizing that we all must give a little so that in the end, each industry -- and consumers, in particular -- will gain a lot."

    Shapiro has long argued that electronic makers should not bear the brunt in making digital TV a reality. He considers the major stumbling block to be Hollywood, which has refused to license content until there is adequate copy protection.

    But Powell said CEA member companies, including Panasonic and Mitsubishi, had personally contacted him in the past week to say they were in fact willing to consider the digital tuner rule.

    The key provisions of Powell's voluntary proposal include:

    -- Beginning Jan. 1, 2004, half of TV sets that are 36 inches or larger would be equipped with digital tuners. All such sets would need to have digital tuners by Jan. 1, 2005.

    The next deadline would come in January 2006, when all sets 13 inches or larger would be equipped with digital tuners.

    -- The four networks, as well as HBO and Showtime, will air half of the 2002-03 primetime season in high-def or offer other "value added services," such as interactive TV. Network execs have pledged to achieve this goal, with most already offering a major chunk of their evening programming in hi-def.;

    -- By January 2003, network affiliates in the top 100 markets will make sure they have the needed equipment to pass on the network signal in hi-def.

    -- By January 2003, cable systems with 750-megahertz capacity will offer to carry for free five digital signals per broadcaster, or pass on a hi-def signal.

    CARRIAGE ON A ROLL

    If a mod could fix the typo in mandatory in the title, I would really appreciate it..

    thanks...
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Whoohoo!
     
  3. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    This sounds like a major step towards HD for everyone.

    This has me a little worried though: "The four networks, as well as HBO and Showtime, will air half of the 2002-03 primetime season in high-def or offer other "value added services," such as interactive TV."

    Interactive TV probably just means it will all turn into a TV version of AOL. Unfortunately, that's where the money will be. If they have a choice between going with 1080i and no "interaction", or 480p and "interaction", I'm afraid they'll pick choose the latter.

    Oh well, that's just the pessimist in me.

    /Mike
     
  4. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    Broadcasters can do 1080i and one interactive at the same time...Everyone wins...
     
  5. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    Thanks to the mod who fixed my title typo...
     

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