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DTV News: Congress Concerned About Analog Shutdown

DTV News: Congress Concerned About Analog Shutdown

From our sister publication, TV Technology, comes this update on the DTV transition:
There have been a number of reports that the FCC is contemplating speeding the DTV transition by requiring cable and DBS providers to deliver broadcasters’ DTV signals in addition to, or instead of, their analog signals, thus increasing the number of households that would count towards the 85% DTV adoption threshold required before analog TV can be shut off.
Last week three Republican congressmen sent FCC Chairman Michael Powell a letter expressing concern “this proposal would produce severe unintended policy consequences.”
Reps. Charlie Norwood of Georgia, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Lee Terry of Nebraska, stated that Prematurely ending analog broadcasting would obsolete 81 million TV sets and disenfranchise 15 million households that rely solely on over-the-air broadcasting.
The representatives recognized that counting cable and DBS viewers towards the 85 percent threshold would have the effect of making 2006 “a hard date to shut-off analog TV stations” and noted that “this would occur even before the tuner mandate has been completed (2007), let alone given time in the marketplace to diminish the tens of millions of analog-only TVs that would go dark.”
Another unintended consequence listed in the letter was that an early shutdown of analog would cause DTV technology to stagnate.