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Mitsubishi, Sharp Agree To 8-VSB Licenses

Lincolnshire, Ill. — Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America and Sharp have signed license agreements for Zenith’s digital television (DTV) reception technology, the companies announced today. Terms were not disclosed.

Under the agreements, Sharp and Mitsubishi become the latest in a growing list of companies to license Zenith’s “8-VSB” (eight-level Vestigial Side Band) DTV technology. Zenith developed the 8-VSB digital transmission system at the heart of the ATSC DTV Standard adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. The company holds numerous patents essential to the operation of over-the-air digital television receivers compliant with the ATSC DTV Standard.

Zenith is currently owned by LG Electronics.

New FCC regulations that took effect last summer will require DTV tuners with 8-VSB demodulators in virtually all TVs sold over the next three years. The phased-in “FCC DTV Tuner Mandate” started on July 1, 2004, requiring 8-VSB tuners in 50 percent of 36-inch and larger sets sold in the United States. Effective July 1, 2005, 100 percent of 36-inch and larger sets, and 50 percent of 25-inch to 35-inch sets, sold in the United States will be required to incorporate 8-VSB demodulators. The rule will apply to all TVs 13-inches and larger in 2007.