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FCC Removes Mobile ATSC Stumbling Block

Washington — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) waived a regulatory requirement seen by TV suppliers as a major stumbling block to bringing mobile ATSC tuners to market.

The FCC waived a 48-year-old regulation that would have forced mobile DTV tuners to include analog tuners to receive broadcasts from low-power TV stations and TV translator stations that continue to transmit analog signals. The regulation, initially adopted in 1962 to ensure that analog televisions could receive UHF channels, required that TVs “be capable of adequately receiving all frequencies allocated by the commission to television broadcasting,” the FCC said.
LG, Dell and Hauppauge Computer Works filed the petition to waive the rule.

The FCC concluded that a waiver “is in the public interest because it would facilitate the introduction of television receivers with Mobile DTV tuners that are designed to be used in motion.” The FCC, however, is requiring Mobile DTV makers to “clearly disclose to consumers that a specific device does not have the capability to receive analog signals, and, where applicable, standard non-mobile digital signals.”

The NTSC analog standard is still widely used by low-power broadcasters, but the FCC said it expects to require low-power stations to cease analog broadcasting “within the near future.”