FCC Win Appeal for Digital TV by 2007

The US regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), whose remit covers the regulation of American TV, has ruled that by 2007 all TV sets sold in the US, bar the smallest (under 13″ screens), must be equipped to receive both digital and analogue signals.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), who represents the manufacturers of US TVs, took legal action against the FCC, claiming that they had acted illegally. Yesterday, a three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals, for the DC Circuit, rejected their appeal.

President and CEO Gary Shapiro responded, “We obviously are disappointed by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which we are still studying. We will be reviewing the full opinion and consulting with our member companies, but of course will be compliant with any final court order.” So, no clear conclusion as to whether they will appeal the decision.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) supported the outcome. President and CEO, Edwards O. Fritts, said “The court’s decision today upholding the FCC’s DTV tuner requirement is a milestone towards completing the DTV transition. Consumers buying TV sets will know that the receivers they buy will continue to receive all broadcast signals, even as broadcasting changes to digital. Chairman Powell and the FCC deserve congratulations for their strong leadership in advancing the digital transition.”

The FCC had originally wanted to broadcasters to make the switch by 2006 but was extended when it became clear that this wasn’t going to be reached. Starting in 2004, larger sets must be equipped to receive digital signals.

Court ruling (PDF)

FCC response – Word | PDF

CEA response