FCC mandates analog TV warning labels

April 26th, 2007

The FCC will require labeling of analog-only TV sets, warning consumers of the demise of analog broadcasts after February 17, 2009. The commission’s unanimous action comes after some stores—including the largest consumer-electronics chain, Best Buy—ignored voluntary labeling efforts advocated by industry groups.

The FCC’s delay in mandating labels accomplished something, though: It gave retailers time to clear out their inventory of old-style TVs, Digital TV Primer notes:

So what we have is the FCC acting a couple of years too late after realizing they had been snookered by TV industry promises that they would label voluntarily. Yeah, right!

Here’s how the signage will read:

Consumer Alert

This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation’s transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission’s digital television website at:

TV labeling for digital shift falls short
Analog TVs get warning labels under voluntary industry program

• Links: FCC [pdf], DTV Primer

Comments (4)

  1. Denny Duplessis says:

    There is so much more that needs to be done. The analog shutdown is less than 2 years away and most Americans don’t have a clue as to what’s going on. As owner of I receive hundreds of emails each week from people across the country who are confused and searching for answers. We need education, the digital transition period is a preparation period and it’s not just for the broadcaster’s it’s for the consumer as well. There are millions of people who solely depend on over the air TV for there news, emergency information and entertainment. If they don’t have the proper equipment in place on February 17, 2009 there TV sets will go to snow. There was more attention given to Y2k, and unlike Y2K this is really gonna happen.

  2. Steven Sande says:

    I’m concerned, too, Denny.

    But I am pleased to see the FCC, the NAB and other government and industry bodies are gearing up for the task of consumer education — it’s not a moment to soon, either. Y2K is probably a good analogy — that changeover went smoothly, in part because so many people were made aware of the issue and acted to head off problems.

  3. Dennis Garber says:

    Geez, I kept running out trying to buy the best looking hdtv antenna for outdoor use. Crap reception, tons of lost time. Regular antenna are too ugly for wife and neighbors on my small house.

    Finally, I settled on a $200 Samsung reciever (blew away usdigital at time) a 75 mile outdoor antenna (I put in attic.), a $50 amp at point of antenna, 100 ft of line to snake to basement and up to livingroom., a uhf/vhf coupler (so vhf does n’t die, and a direction zenith silver sensor to tune in hard to get stations with it’s great reception that blows away the roof on uhf, and a booster for the silver sensor. Also, must buy good non china made splitters and couplers (kept burning out the crappy cheap ones and didn’t know what the heck was going on.). All in all, nearly $500 for my change over. And still have saved a few hundred over cable in last 3 years.

    What I dont understand is how the average Joe will figure this out. No, they are already serfs and don’t know it.

  4. Steven Sande says:

    Now that’s dedication. Most viewers would simply give up, I’m sure.

    I don’t know when you experienced this ordeal, but receivers are improving, reportedly, and I hope fewer people are having to go to such lengths to get decent reception. Otherwise we’re in trouble.

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