NAB Statement on Introduction of DTV Consumer Education Act of 2007
January 22, 2007
To: Reporters covering the transition from analog to digital television
From: Dennis Wharton
NAB just learned that legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives today dealing with a number of educational efforts related to the February 18, 2009 "hard date" for turning off analog television.
The bill was offered by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), ranking minority member of the House Commerce Committee, along with Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), ranking minority member of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, and former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who serves on the House Commerce Committee.
The following quote can be attributed to Dennis Wharton, NAB Executive Vice President, Media Relations:
"NAB thanks Ranking Members Barton and Upton and Rep. Hastert for offering legislation aimed at educating America's television viewers about the ongoing digital transition. As we draw nearer to February 2009, we welcome all pro-consumer initiatives designed to positively educate America on the transition from analog to digital television."
In addition, NAB recently announced the formation of a four-member Digital Television Transition Team which will work with other Congress, the FCC, the NTIA, industry groups, consumer groups and other allies to bring the DTV transition to a successful conclusion.
Key highlights of the bill that was introduced today are as follows
Require labeling and signs. Manufacturers would be required to place labels on analog televisions. Retailers would be required to display signs near analog televisions. This would help ensure that consumers who are thinking of buying an analog television understand that after Feb. 17, 2009, they will need to connect the television to a converter-box, or to cable or satellite service, to receive broadcast television signals.
Require billing notices. Cable and satellite operators would be required to include information in their bills notifying subscribers about the DTV transition and the digital-to-analog converter-box program. Cable and satellite subscribers will be largely unaffected by the transition, but this requirement will help ensure they understand what is happening.
Broadcaster reporting. Broadcasters will be required to file regular reports with the Federal Communications Commission detailing what consumer education efforts they are undertaking, such as the airing of public service announcements. Broadcasters and their viewers will be among the prime beneficiaries of the DTV transition and the converter-box program, and broadcasters are uniquely suited to explain to consumers what will happen.
FCC outreach. The FCC would be required to create a public outreach program to help educate consumers. The FCC would also be required to create a DTV consumer education working group that includes representatives from the FCC, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), broadcasters, cable and satellite operators, consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers, and consumer groups. The working group would be charged with helping to advise the FCC on consumer outreach.
Energy standards. The NTIA would be required to establish energy standards for digital-to-analog converter boxes. National standards will help ensure that manufacturers can produce and distribute efficient, low-cost converter boxes for consumers nationwide.
Progress Reports. The FCC would be required to submit regular progress reports to Congress on the DTV transition, including discussion of the ongoing consumer education efforts of the FCC and the private sector. The NTIA would be required to submit regular reports to Congress on the distribution and redemption of coupons for converter boxes.
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at www.nab.org.