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CEA Wants Congress to Push HDTV

2 Jun, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is turning up the pressure on Congress to adopt a hard deadline for the end of analog transmission of TV signals.

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives May 27 began discussing a bill that would end analog broadcasting by the end of 2008.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CEA, has asked Congress to bite the bullet on a hard cutoff, pointing out that relatively few American homes rely only on a free over-the-air antenna signal for TV content.

“By the time of the actual cutoff … the number of American homes that would be cut off from any broadcast signal would be significantly less than 13 percent,” Shapiro noted in a letter to Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Federal Communications Commission's original soft deadline of 2006 for the digital TV transition calls for the digital signal to be available to 85 percent of households.

As of the end of March, there were 4 million HDTV homes in the United States, compared to 1.6 million at the same time last year, according to In-Stat research.

Shapiro and the CEA maintain that a hard deadline will spur sales of TV sets that come integrated with an HDTV tuner. The CEA predicts sales of integrated sets will reach nearly 3.3 million units sold in 2008, compared to just 14,000 units of analog-only sets for that year.

Nearly half of HDTV-enabled households worldwide (46 percent) get their service from a satellite provider, according to In-Stat research.

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