FCC Adjusts DTV-Tuner Schedule

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Every new TV set sold in the United States after March 1, 2007, must include an over-the-air digital tuner, the Federal Communications Commission said Thursday.

Digital-TV tuners allow consumers to receive free local TV programming with the use of inexpensive antennas.

The old digital-TV-tuner deadline was July 1, 2007, and it exempted set 13 inches and smaller. The FCC said it removed the exemption because portable, battery-powered TVs proved important “for enabling the reception of news and public-safety information in times of emergency.”

Several years ago, the commission adopted a digital-TV-tuner schedule that started with the large sets and worked down to the small, nonexempt units. The agency imposed the turner requirement after broadcasters complained that set manufacturers had excluded them in order to market big-screen HDTV monitors hooked up to cable or satellite providers.

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