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Powell: Set-makers missing DTV piece - Broadcasting & Cable

Powell: Set-makers missing DTV piece

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As he praised most of the television industry for backing his plan to speed
the digital-television transition, Federal Communications Commission chairman
Michael Powell Thursday needled set manufacturers for not yet climbing on board.

"The missing piece of the DTV puzzle is the consumer-electronics industry,"
Powell said in a written update on his plan.

Set-makers have been asked to equip one-half of sets 36 inches and larger with
digital-TV tuners by Jan. 1, 2004; 100 percent by Jan. 1, 2005; and all sets 13 inches and
larger by Dec. 31, 2006.

Consumer Electronics Association officials are expected to have a response
soon, perhaps Friday.

The country's top 10 operators have agreed to carry up to five broadcast or
other digital-programming services at the beginning of next year.

Major network broadcasters to large markets have generally agreed to pass
through network digital TV, and the big broadcast and cable networks have agreed to
provide at least 50 percent of their primetime schedules in high-definition or
interactive programming this fall.

A CEA spokesman said manufacturers have been slower to commit because
compliance would increase the cost of products, making it difficult to build
consensus.

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