Backstory10/15/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern
FCC Chairman Bill Kennard's suggestion to require that all new TV sets include DTV receivers by 2003 recalls the passage of the All Channel Receiver Act in 1962, requiring sets sold after July 1, 1964, to be capable of tuning both VHF and UHF.
Sen. Norris Cotton (R-N.H.) was against it, saying consumers would lose freedom of choice. Sen. John Pastore (D-R.I.) countered that the scarcity of sets capable of receiving UHF made it difficult for high-channel stations to attract advertising.
According to Broadcasting's July 16, 1962, issue, when President Kennedy signed the law, it was a quiet affair. That's because adding the UHF receiver raised the price of TV sets by $25, and many thought that would come back to haunt politicians later. Proponent Lester Lindow (l), executive director of the Association for Maximum Service Telecasters, got the pen JFK used to sign the law.