http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA516897.html?display=Breaking+News&referral=SUPP Barton Wants DTV Tuners Sooner By Bill McConnell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/12/2005 2:50:00 PM House Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) has been keeping the pressure on broadcasters to go all-digital as soon as possible. Now he wants TV makers to pitch in, too. Tuesday, Barton said he and other committee leaders will ask the FCC to accelerate its deadline for mandating that nearly all digital TV sets contain tuners capable of receiving stations over-the-air digital signals. Currently, all DTV sets 13-inches and larger must have the tuners by July 1, 2007; Barton now wants the deadline move up to "late 2005 or early 2006." Barton says an accelerated equipment deadline is needed in order for broadcasters to go all-digital by Dec. 31, 2006, as current law recommends, but does not mandate. Unless consumers are better equipped to receive digital signals than current trends suggest, there won't be a sufficient digital-ready audience to cut off old analog broadcasts, he told the Federal Communications Bar Association. "Right now, we don't think the [broadcast] industry can meet the Dec. 31, 2006, deadline because the equipment won't be there." Barton said he is drafting a request for a new tuner deadline with his committee's ranking Democrat, John Dingell, and Reps. Fred Upton and Ed Markey, the chairman and ranking Democrat, respectively, of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee. In 2002, the FCC approved the tuner mandate, which also required that 50% of sets 36 inches and larger include DTV receivers by July 1, 2004, and 100% by July 1, 2005. The digital tuner mandate was adamantly opposed by the Consumer Electronics Association, which sued to block it, but it was upheld by federal appeals judges, though CEA says it now favors accelerating the deadline, saying it could go all-tuner by March 2006 if the FCC drops this summer's 50% deadline.. TV makers have manufactured many HDTV models without digital tuners, expecting them to be hooked to cable or DVD players and not to an over-the-air antenna that will allow viewers to get their local broadcasters directly from the stations. Consequently, many DTV owners can't watch digital programming because the signals aren't yet carried by most cable systems and viewers are unable to take advantage of the full range of digital services that cable operators aren't necessarily carrying, such as a stations' multiple programming streams. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.