No downgraded HDTV broadcasts from cable. But will analog viewers miss out?

December 20th, 2005

Cable companies won’t be allowed to downconvert high-definition broadcasts of local channels—a clause that would have allowed it was pulled from the House digital TV measure. The broadcast lobby is “especially encouraged that the legislation thwarts the cable industry’s desire to degrade delivery of HDTV pictures to consumers,” according to TG Daily.

But hold your rejoicing, cable viewers. If you still have an analog TV, you won’t see shows in high-def, of course. Here’s the hitch, though—and it’s a big one:

[Consumers Union’s Gene] Kimmelman says 85 million cable and satellite customers might also have to buy digital TVs or decoders. That’s because federal law bars providers from “degrading” a broadcast signal, and the bill doesn’t provide an exemption to convert broadcasters’ digital and high-definition programs to analog.

(Emphasis added.)

We haven’t heard the end of this.

• Links: TG Daily, USA Today

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