FCC Imposes Digital Deadline on TV Manufacturers

08 August 2002

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to announce this week that it will force electronics manufacturers to install digital tuners in all new TV sets by 2006.

America’s digital TV sector has been held back by a Catch 22 standoff between broadcasters and set-makers. The former are unwilling to invest heavily in digital transmissions unless they can be received by consumers in sufficient numbers, while the latter want to wait until there are enough dTV transmissions to persuade people to buy their products.

Frustrated at the slow rollout of digital services, the FCC is intervening. The regulator’s decision to impose requirements on manufacturers is seen as a victory for broadcasters, which are already legally obliged to begin dTV transmissions and are therefore keen to ensure these can be received by a mass audience as soon as possible.

The new obligations are opposed by manufacturers, which argue they will force up the cost of a typical TV set by over $250 (€258; £163). Broadcasters estimate the additional cost to be a more conservative $15.

Data sourced from: MediaWeek.com (USA); additional content by WARC staff