Boucher, Terry Support DTV Agreement


A House bill introduced Wednesday would give the Federal Communications
Commission 30 days to adopt the digital plug-and-play agreement signed by eight
leading cable companies and 14 top consumer-electronics firms last December.

The bill, introduced by Reps. Rich Boucher (D-Va.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.),
would also change the agreement by including a requirement that all TV sets
labeled "digital-cable-ready" contain tuners to capture off-air
digital-broadcast signals.

The FCC is expected to approve the agreement in the fall.

Under the agreement, consumers should be able to buy digital-TV sets for
one-way cable programming, including premium networks, without leasing a set-top
box from the cable company. Cable and consumer-electronics firms are negotiating
standards for digital-TV sets with two-way interactive-service capabilities.

The Consumer Electronics Association endorsed the Boucher-Terry bill.

National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Robert Sachs
sent Terry a letter Wednesday thanking him for the support.

"We are grateful for the strong show of congressional support for the
‘plug-and-play’ agreement, as evidenced by the legislation you have introduced
with Boucher," Sachs wrote. "Your leadership on this issue adds further momentum
to ultimate implementation of the ‘plug-and-play’ agreement."