Markey lobbies for DTV tuners


Adding to the Federal Communications Commission's digital-TV to-do list, Rep.
Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said the FCC needs to write rules that require TV makers to
include digital tuners in new TV sets, in a letter sent to FCC chairman Michael
Powell Wednesday.

While Markey supports efforts by Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and John Dingell
(D-Mich.) to jump-start the digital-TV transition by introducing wide-ranging
legislation, he always has focused most on including digital-TV tuners in sets.

Markey first proposed the idea in 1997, during a House Commerce Committee
debate on the budget act, which involved the return of broadcasters' analog
spectrum to the federal government.

"Given the fact that annual TV sales exceed 25 million units per year, had
that amendment been adopted, consumers would have seen the introduction of 50
million units for 2001 and 2002, with the prospect of a total of more than 150
million digital-capable sets by the end of 2006," Markey wrote.

Markey also wants the FCC to finish up its reviews of cable operators'
digital-TV-carriage obligations and of cable-equipment compatibility and
interoperability with digital TVs. Markey asked for a response from the FCC by
Aug. 1.