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CEA, CERC Petition for Expedited Digital Tuner Mandate
Nov 10, 2004
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In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition (CERC) urged the FCC to accelerate the digital television (DTV) tuner mandate timetable.

Pointing to the unintended consequences of the 50 percent requirement, CEA and CERC requested that the 100 percent deadline for DTV tuners in television screen sizes 25- to 36-in be accelerated to March 1, 2006, thereby speeding the consumer migration to DTV.

The current DTV tuner mandate timetable calls for 50 percent of the TV receivers in the 25- to 36-in screen size range to have a digital tuner by July 1, 2005. CEA and CERC are petitioning to exchange the 50 percent requirement for advancing the 100 percent requirement in this size category up from July 1, 2006 to March 1, 2006. The associations argue the modification will expedite the planning for and implementation of 100 percent incorporation of DTV tuners, in providing for a clear date for universal reliance on the DTV technology and components.

"The current 50 percent requirement is antithetical to the Commission's goal of building marketplace demand for broadcast DTV receivers when applied to popular, 25- to 36-in, screen sizes," said Gary Shapiro, CEA president and CEO. "Although initially conceived as a phase-in for the benefit of manufacturers and retailers, in reality it creates uncertainty in the marketplace for each group and slows the ramping up of volume production necessary to bring costs down.

CERC Executive Director Marc Pearl agreed the proposed mandate threatens the DTV transition. "In practice, the 50 percent requirement has proven to be unduly disruptive. It creates an artificial scarcity of products without tuners, providing an incentive for retailers to assure their supplies of these non-tuner products," he said. "This is the opposite result from the one sought by the Commission, and by retailers, as a matter of public policy. Accelerating the100 percent obligation would eliminate that situation."

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