By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Retailers are going above and beyond federal mandates in preparing consumers for the switch to digital broadcasting, the head of the Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition (CERC) advised Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin Martin.
In an Oct. 16 letter to Martin, CERC executive director Christopher McLean said the lobbying group's members, which include Amazon.com, Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears, RadioShack, Target and Wal-Mart, “have worked to make completely effective every FCC regulation and request that has related to the transition to digital television, and we have continued to work with broadcasters and our other partners.”
McClean's missive was in response to two letters the FCC chairman sent to CERC and Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro. The letters respectively expressed concern over the efforts of retailers to make converter boxes available to consumers of all means, and over the availability of portable, battery-powered devices with digital TV receivers.
McClean noted that member and non-member retailers alike have made “enormous efforts to serve converter-box consumers in every variety of circumstance,” including donating converters to charitable groups, air-freighting shipments into areas with shortages and training volunteers on assisting consumers with home installations.
Converters are now available in tens of thousands of retail stores, he said, which is “a remarkable accomplishment” for a product with a limited demand cycle.
He added that the marketplace will continue to respond to demand for portable DTV receivers, as Shapiro noted in his own response to Martin.
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