[opendtv] News: Barton Wants DTV Tuners Sooner

  • From: Eory Frank-p22212 <Frank.Eory@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "'opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx'" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 19:36:17 -0700

The spin doctors really hit the FUD button on this one!

>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."
>

So if I understand correctly, Barton wants to mandate that no TV sets other 
than those already on the market that contain ATSC IRD's be allowed to be sold 
in the U.S. from "late 2004 or early 2006" until such time as the CE mfrs could 
respond to the new rule -- Fall 2006 at the earliest. I wonder how he would do 
in the next election if he became the guy responsible for removing the 
overwhelming majority of the TV set inventory from the shelves of our nation's 
retailers for a whole year.

>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."
>

Hello? Many large U.S. TV markets would've met the 85% clause LAST YEAR under 
the Ferree plan. Most TV viewers already have the necessary equipment -- an 
NTSC TV set!

>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.
>

Which was exactly the correct assumption. For most citizens, the idea of using 
a large roof-mounted antenna for TV viewing is unpalatable. When coupled with 
the idea of "this is the digital future," it's absolutely ludicrous!

>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.

That's hysterical! "most cable systems" carry MUCH more DTV and HDTV than could 
ever be watched with a terrestrial antenna, even if that antenna/receiver had 
the most perfect reception.

The sad reality is that the only reason for a DTV owner to not be able to watch 
much digital programming is that he is using an antenna and only watching free 
DTV.
 
 
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