CEA blasts call for DTV tuners in all TVs

3/13/01

Arlington, VA - During a recent set of oversight hearings on DTV held by the U.S. Senate Commerce committee, the Consumer Electronics Association lashed out at the broadcast mandate calling for a DTV tuner in every television set. The CEA argued that the mandate would result in increased costs and several limited consumer choice.

"This proposal, even if phased-in, will increase costs for American taxpayers," said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro. "We estimate that such a mandate could add hundreds of dollars to the cost of almost every television set, pricing many lower-income Americans out of the market and severely slowing the DTV transition."

Shapiro argued that the proposal also would inhibit the ability of consumers to choose how and when they will enter the digital television era.

"Consumers have demonstrated that they want options when making the decision to upgrade to DTV," Shapiro noted. "Our own experience combined with sales figures and reports from retailers show that most consumers are choosing to upgrade to a high quality, DTV--upgradeable monitor now to enhance their DVD, DBS or analog experience -and purchase a digital tuner later when more broadcast programming becomes available."

Shapiro added that now that broadcasters have ended the debate over the DTV transmission standard, manufacturers can build and consumers can finally purchase tuners with confidence and certainty.

"As the DTV market matures and as more content becomes available, manufacturers will continue to produce and distribute a wide variety of digital television products, including a broad array of products capable of receiving a digital signal. Already, manufacturers are providing consumers with a wide range of products that includes integrated television sets, DTV-upgradeable monitors and stand-alone tuners. Throughout the transition, the free market will meet the needs of consumers as manufacturers provide DTV products at varying, affordable price points."

In addition to rejecting calls for costly and unnecessary mandates on digital television products, Shapiro said Congress should follow four key steps to speed the DTV transition including insisting that broadcasters transmit an ample supply of HDTV programming, ensuring that any copy protection solutions protect the noncommercial home recording and fair use rights of American consumers as well as the rights of content owners, direct the FCC to ensure that cable providers carry broadcast DTV programs, and ensure that there is a simple and consumer-friendly way to connect digital cable systems to DTV products.

"The United States stands as the worldwide leader in digital television," Shapiro concluded. "An expanding variety of DTV products are in the stores, and consumers are buying them in record numbers. Numerous providers are recognizing DTV's potential and producing DTV programming. CEA remains committed to working with broadcasters, cable providers and all other interested parties to ensure the fastest, most consumer-friendly transition to DTV."

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