USA: Congressman Keeps Pressure on Digital TV Sector

27 September 2002

Continuing his determined line on America’s transition to digital television, Representative Billy Tauzin (Republican, Louisiana), chairman of the House Commerce Committee, has told the various parties involved in dTV that the switch will go ahead whether they like it or not.

Tauzin, angry at the in-fighting between broadcasters and TV set manufacturers that has hindered the roll-out of digital services, last week unveiled draft legislation that would terminate the analog signal received by standard television receivers by the end of 2006 [WAMN: 24-Sep-02].

“We’re not going to be sitting here ten years from now talking about this,” Tauzin told representatives of cable, broadcast and electronics firms appearing before a congressional panel. “It will be worked out, and the American consumer will have a smooth transition to the digital age.”

The draft bill demands action on a number of the issues involved in the digital switch, such as measures to protect digital content from piracy and a single digital cable standard to aid TV manufacturers.

Tauzin is determined that the various parties sort out their differences, telling them that parts of the bill “are intended literally to create tension, and to get you to have a good fight in front of us.”

However, Robert C Wright, president of broadcast network NBC, voiced concern at the proposed termination of analog, claiming it could “disenfranchise millions of consumers” without digital-ready sets

His sentiments were echoed by Representative Eliot Engel (Democrat, New York), terrified at the prospect of angry voters left without TV. “The end of analog broadcasting on December 31, 2006, could also be the end of many of our congressional careers.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff