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February 26, 2007

Digital TV Transition On Track, Says CEA

By Spencer D. Chin, TMCnet Web Editor

The broadcasting industry’s much-heralded transition to digital broadcasting is slated to hit another milestone on March 1, as all sets shipped with analog TV tuners will also incorporate a digital tuner, according to the industry group Consumer Electronics Association.
“As of March 1, any product shipped with an analog TV tuner will also include a DTV tuner, making access to the benefits of DTV a reality for more American consumers as these shipments reach the retail store shelf,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president and CEO, in a statement.
The Federal Communications Commission has mandated all-digital broadcasting by February 2009, with part of the mandate calling for sets 13 inches and larger to incorporate digital tuners. The CEA believes both retailers and consumers are making the transition, as sales of high-definition TVs have boomed.
Shapiro explained that consumers are not forced to buy a new television to continue receiving programming after the DTV transition, as analog set owners can use a digital-to-analog converter box or receive digital broadcasts through cable or satellite service. But a high-definition television would give the consumer the full advantages of digital broadcasts, he noted.
CEA’s Video Division Board adopted language last year for manufacturers and retailers to alert consumers purchasing an analog-only set that a digital converter box will be required as of Feb. 17, 2009 for over-the-air reception.
Earlier this month, Shapiro stated in a letter to more than 600 retailers that the analog labeling language be included in product displays to ensure consumers are informed about how analog sets will receive over-the-air broadcasts after the transition.
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Spencer Chin is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his
columnist page.

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