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CEA URGES FCC TO EMBRACE VOLUNTARY, MARKET-DRIVEN APPROACH TO DTV RECEIVER PERFORMANCE
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should maintain its current position on receiver performance standards, which relies primarily on market incentives and voluntary industry programs, theConsumer Electronics Association (CEA) said in reply comments submitted today as part of the Commission’s ongoing review of the rules and policies affecting the digital television (DTV) conversion.
“The marketplace provides the strongest incentive for continued technical improvements to receivers,” said CEA Vice President of Technology Policy Michael Petricone. “Government mandates seldom create business incentives or result in product innovations. When it comes to DTV receiver standards, manufacturers already are competing in a highly competitive market that requires products to exceed consumer expectations.
“To override the consumer’s voice in the marketplace would be misguided. If the Commission seeks to take effective action to ensure maximum consumer reception of broadcast HDTV, it should require that all licensed broadcasters are transmitting a DTV signal at fully authorized power as soon as possible.”
CEA noted in the filing that a majority of the stations on-air with digital signals today are using facilities of less power than allotted by the Commission.
“There are weaker than authorized signals from 69 percent of the DTV stations currently on the air according to the FCC’s most recent data (July 30, 2003),” CEA wrote. “Full power operation of DTV stations is the quickest and surest way to bring digital signals to a maximum amount of viewers in a station area.”
CEA further argues in the filing that changes in the radio frequency environment are much too fast-paced to be subjected to the delays inherent in the regulatory rulemaking process for products such as receivers.
“Our goal – and it should be that of the Commission as well – is to ensure an environment that fosters research and development in receiver technologies and is conducive to improvements being implemented promptly in consumer receivers on an on-going basis without regulatory delay,” CEA wrote.
Finally, CEA notes it is working with other DTV industry leaders through a Specialist Group of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) to develop a “recommended practice for DTV receivers,” which will provide the necessary flexibility required for the receiver market that a government mandate could not allow.