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FCC is warning retailers on DTV warnings

June 8th, 2007

In your exurb, do the big boxes properly label their dwindling, outdated stock of analog TVs? If they don’t display the FCC’s warning about what the digital transition will mean for old-style television sets come 2009, they can expect a federal citation:

The FCC has warned K-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City, Radio Shack, and CompUSA, or essentially an A-list of the major electronics retailers, that if they don’t start placing the…warning “in close proximity” to analog-only sets, even those sold online, the stores will face an $11,000-per-day fine, up to $97,000.

(A point of order: If Kmart is so A-list, why do they keep taking their name off of buildings?)

The regulation does not sound exceptionally difficult to comply with, and I will be interested to see the number of violations. Of course, when a chain has hundreds of stores, they are bound to miss a few TVs. Miss more than that, and you’re abusing your customers. Remember, the FCC warnings were instituted on pretty short notice—but only after large retailers had long said that a federal regulation was unnecessary, then failed to carry out the industry’s voluntary warning program.

It was my impression that Best Buy had a deadline of May 1, 2007, for ditching their analog TVs. As I recall, I acquired that impression after a Best Buy exec testified before Congress about it.

• Link: Broadcasting & Cable

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