FCC Readying DTV Votes


As expected, federal regulators are scheduled to vote Aug. 8 on a plan that
calls for including off-air digital-TV turners on nearly all new TV sets by

The Federal Communications Commission is slated to take up the
digital-TV-tuner issue at its next public meeting, according to an agenda
released late Thursday.

Over the objections of the Consumer Electronics Association, the National
Association of Broadcasters has been urging the FCC to impose the tuner mandate
in order to hasten the transition to digital TV.

The CEA claimed that a tuner mandate will jack up the price of analog TVs by
$200 apiece and rile consumers.

Also Aug. 8, the commission is expected to launch a rulemaking intended to
explore whether it has legal authority to require various makers of digital
devices -- TVs, set-tops and computers -- to include technology that will
protect off-air digital-TV signals from illegal copying.

Consumer groups, the CEA and information-technology vendors have argued that
the inclusion of so-called broadcast-flag technology has the potential of
cutting back on home recording rights of consumers.

The owners of digital programming claimed that all they want to do is ensure
that their copyrights are not pirated through unfettered Internet