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CEA: Broadcasters' Petition Threatens Analong-to-Digital TV Switch

3 Mar, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association, in a Feb. 29 speech before the Media Institute in Washington, D.C., expressed concern that a petition from the Community Broadcasters Association could put a wrinkle in the nation's February 2009 switch from analog to digital broadcasts.

The petition seeks to block the government's $40 coupon program for analog-to-digital converter boxes for the public, and asks the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is overseeing the program, to not allow the coupons to go toward certain converter boxes that block analog signals.

“CBA has entirely overlooked the fact that several of the current certified converter boxes offer an analog pass-through feature. This option allows those Americans served by low-power and translator stations to receive both digital and analog signals now and after the transition,” Shapiro said.

He asked the Federal Communications Commission to deny the petition.

“We are doing well,” Shapiro said of the national transition. “By the end of 2007, more than 50% of American households owned a digital television. And consumers are increasingly aware of the transition and what, if anything, they need to do in order to continue enjoying free, over-the-air television.

“The marketplace is working. The transition is working. We are 355 days away from a vital milestone in our digital destiny.”

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