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Court Strikes Down DTV Tuner Appeal

The U.S. Court of Appeals denied a petition from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) to review and overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s mandate to include digital TV tuners in television sets.

The court’s ruling rejected arguments that the FCC lacked the authority to order the inclusion of DTV tuners in TV sets, and that the decision was unreasonable.

CEA president Gary Shapiro expressed disappointment in the decision, adding that the association and manufacturers are studying the ruling.

“Everyone involved in the analog-to-DTV transition is trying his utmost to accomplish shared objectives. We certainly reached a critical tipping point a few weeks ago with the FCC’s adoption of the historic cable plug-and-play agreement. From here, the commission needs to be vigilant in ensuring that this well-crafted plug-and-play agreement is dutifully implemented and enforced with the interests of the American consumer top of mind.”

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which has long advocated the tuner mandate, submitted comments in support of the FCC’s decision.

NAB president Eddie Fritts said the court decision “is a milestone towards completing the DTV transition. Consumers buying TV sets will know that the receivers they buy will continue to receive all broadcast signals, even as broadcasting changes to digital.”

FCC Chairman Michael Powell said, “We’re on track to have most television sets digital-ready by 2007. This will ensure that consumers are able to enjoy high-quality digital broadcast programming without the hassle and expense of hooking up a separate set-top box.”