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Barton, Upton Release Draft of DTV Bill

Barton, Upton Release Draft of DTV Bill

As they promised they would during the recent NAB convention, House Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee, have released a discussion draft of the Digital Television Transition Act of 2005.
It suggests a hard date of Dec. 31, 2008 for broadcasters to stop transmitting programs in analog.
“The current 85 percent penetration test guarantees only confusion and uncertainty,” Barton said in a statement. “It is far wiser to plan for the coming change than to sit back and wait for television sets to go dark.”
The draft bill would also require the FCC to issue a report and order by Dec. 31, 2006 on the final digital channel assignments for broadcasters, complete any reconsideration by July 31, 2007, and submit status reports to Congress every six months starting Feb. 1, 2006 on the international coordination of the digital channel assignments with Canada and Mexico.
It also require manufacturers and retailers to include labels and signs telling consumers that analog TV sets will need to be attached to a digital receiver, digital-to-analog converter box, or multichannel video service to continue receiving broadcast programming after Dec. 31, 2008.
A subcommittee hearing on the bill is set for Thursday (May 26). Barton and Upton said they seek bipartisan support for the measure.

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