To the Editor:
At RadioShack, we support the expansion of digital technology. Generally speaking, we are also in support of speeding the reality of digital TV programming for the American consumer. Hopefully the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate requiring digital TV tuners in all sets signals the FCC's desire to expand HDTV and digital programming to the American consumer.
However, we're not certain this mandate, in and of itself, will do that. If the digital programming platform does not exist by 2007, then the digital tuners will not function and an additional cost will be absorbed by the consumer for no reason.
My understanding is that this mandate focuses first on televisions with screen sizes 36-inches and above. As you know, last December, RadioShack made an announcement to exit the large TV market and focus on carrying sets 27-inches and smaller. Because the ruling does cover TVs with a screen size of 13-inches or larger, eventually other screen sizes will be impacted. Incorporating digital tuners in smaller TVs could be a challenge to the manufacturers to design an affordably priced TV that is also functional.
It is too early to speculate on how this might affect the cost to consumers. Could it potentially price smaller TVs out of the reach for many consumers? We'll just have to wait to see what happens between now and 2007. In order to be a win for consumers, it will take a collective coordination and collaboration between the FCC and manufacturers as well quite possibly retailers.
Leonard Roberts, Chairman/CEO, RadioShack