Sachs to CE: Improve digital sales info


Consumer-electronics retailers and manufacturers need to do a better job
explaining digital-TV and high-definition equipment needs, National Cable &
Telecommunications Association president Robert Sachs said Tuesday.

Cable installers have found that one-half of households requesting HD service do
not have HD sets, he told the March conference of the Advanced
Television Systems Committee.

Also, consumers often confuse large- and flat-screen TV's with HDTVs. "A much
better job of consumer education about DTV products needs to be done at the
point of retail sale," he added.

He also said manufacturers should better label sets' capabilities.

And Sachs dismissed National Association of Broadcasters president Eddie
Fritts' call earlier in the meeting for expanded digital-cable carriage rights.

"The give and take of private negotiations is always preferable to the
government making decisions for us," Sachs said.

In a speech earlier Tuesday morning, Fritts took a swing at cable operators
for carrying fewer than 10 percent of the nearly 800 digital-TV channels now offered by
broadcast stations.

"Only 75 DTV broadcast stations are being carried on cable, and 55 of those
are on Time Warner [Cable] systems. We look forward to rapid growth in those numbers,"
Fritts said.

The NAB is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to require
dual cable carriage of broadcasters' analog and digital signals during the

Going forward, the NAB also wants carriage of any multicast digital channels
stations offered free-of-charge.