America’s hitherto snail-like roll-out of digital (aka high-definition) television may be spurred into life by a new compromise between cable firms and electronics manufacturers.

The tentative agreement lays down national standards so that manufacturers can produce TV sets with built-in technology to receive digital signals via cable – the route through which 72 million of the nation’s 105m TV-watching households receive programming.

Such a deal would allow cable firms to switch to digital broadcasts, knowing that all dTV sets could pick them up.

The pact will, it is thought, be passed to the Federal Communications Commission later this month. The FCC, which has desperately been trying to kick-start digital uptake, must draft rules to put the agreement into practice, with a three-year roll-out commencing in 2004 expected.

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff