Thomson Consumer Electronics Friday was the first major television-industry
company to respond to the Federal Communications Commission's May request for TV
players to spell out how they're helping the transition to digital.
Besides laying out its own progress, Thomson used the opportunity to list
shortcomings of others, including of the FCC itself.
Thomson said the FCC should expedite its approval of "plug-and-play"
standards needed for cable-ready digital-TV sets and complained that an apparent
September target date is too late to build cable-ready sets for 2004.
The company also complained that too many broadcasters are relying on lower-power transmissions for the transition to succeed quickly.
The bulk of responses from other electronics companies, TV-station groups
and cable operators are expected to flow this week.
Regarding its own efforts, Thomson said it has sponsored nearly one-dozen
sports broadcasts, including two HDTV Super Bowls and the NCAA basketball Final
A third non-HD digital Super Bowl broadcast was sponsored on Fox in 2002.
Thomson's Grass Valley equipment is employed by ESPN-HD and HDNet, as well
the Academy Awards on ABC, the company told Powell.
The company has 21 different HDTV products on the market, including seven
sets with over-the-air digital tuners and three new set-tops.
Digital sets all are equipped with copy-protection measures selected by