DTV converter boxes: LPTV group cries foulDecember 7th, 2007
DTV converter boxes may be in violation of FCC rules, low-power television (LPTV) broadcasters have charged in a complaint filed with the regulatory agency.
Digital-to-analog converter boxes are designed to smooth the transition to digital TV broadcasts in 2009. These devices, which allow over-the-air DTV signals to be viewed on old-technology televisions, violate the All-Channel Receiver Act (ACRA), an LPTV trade group argues. ACRA requires that receivers be “capable of adequately receiving all frequencies allocated by the FCC to television broadcasting,” according to the Community Broadcasters Association (CBA).
Even after the February 17, 2009, cutover to digital TV by the nation’s full-power stations, which dominate television ratings, the generally smaller Class A and LPTV stations will continue analog broadcasts. LPTV channels, because they typically lack cable carriage rights, are much more dependent on antenna viewers than the big stations. If converter boxes do not pass through analog signals to viewers’ TV sets, the CBA fears the loss of low-power audiences when government-subsidized DTV converters go on sale in 2008.
“Converter boxes that block our analog LPTV signals will confuse viewers and significantly decrease LPTV viewership,” says Ronald Bruno, newly elected CBA president. “Every time a person gets a coupon, buys a converter box and plugs it in we lose that viewer. Without an analog receiver in the converter box, our industry is facing a dire situation.”
The FCC has yet to set a deadline for Class A and low-power stations to switch to digital broadcasts.
From our FAQ section:
• Are any TV stations exempt from the 2009 cutoff date?