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Tauzin Stands Firm On 2006 Deadline
At CEA's DTV Summit, warns broadcasters of possible Congressional action
Source: Tvinsight 5/13/2002


WASHINGTON— The digital television continues to approach mass-market status, but still must clear several large hurdles, including full cable compatibility and acceptance of copy-protection solutions, an assembly of DTV pioneers stated at the CEA's recent Digital TV Summit here.


The session kicked off with a keynote address from Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), chairman of the House Commerce Committee, who assured attendees that he remains "bound and determined" to hold to the 2006 deadline for the return of analog television spectrum, and indicated that Congress is prepared to take steps necessary to move it along if it has to.


Tauzin said the process has "many coordinated decisions to be made," and they are being made on a timely basis, adding that Congress is aware that it can not come between the consumer and his television set when the time comes to end analog broadcasting.


However, he reiterated his desire "that we have, as much as possible, less regulation and, as much as possible, a level playing field where competitors can compete against one another and consumers can make decisions about the winners or losers in this great marketplace."


He vowed to "continue the roundtable process" of resolving transition snagging points for "as long as we sense there is progress being made."

Tauzin said it is the expectation of Congress that broadcasters use at least a portion of the broadcast day to the transmission of high-definition television pictures, since HDTV broadcasting was the original reason that stations were given 6 MHz of spectrum bandwidth for digital broadcasting.


"We gave you 6 MHz because that was what it took [broadcasters] to do HDTV and clearly Congress intended you to at least show it to the American public, and you have an obligation to do it. We aren't saying you have to do it all the time. But you better doggoned well have at least some of it in the mix."



However, he stressed that enabling the set to empower Americans with greater digital tools is now the primary objective of the transition.


"When we talk about the digital television transition, we are not really talking about pretty pictures," Tauzin said. "Getting the television to speak the language of the computer age ? is really what Congress was all about when it set the 2006 deadline for television stations to make the full transition to digital."


He said Americans view the roles of television and the Internet as "necessities" in their lives today, and the goal of new technology is to bring the two together.


"Moving television into the digital age is all about enabling that set to do more and more in an Internet age — to communicate, educate, aid in commerce and literally expand that culture we call America," Tauzin said.


Regarding the cable industry's role in the transition, Tauzin said cable operators have begun to aggressively upgrade their systems to digital and are producing some very interesting programming in high definition, but they have had some conflicting views on how DTV signals are relayed over their platforms.


"We are going to bring all these different perspectives together. We are going to get decisions made that will literally end some of these debates. In the end we are going to get this transition done, and consumers will be much better for it," Tauzin said.


The Congressman said he remains optimistic about "the round table" process in which the kinks in the transition are being resolved, adding that it becomes very clear in the process whose turn it is next to move to the middle and compromise.


Tauzin commended FCC Chairman Michael Powell's recent voluntary digital television transition plan. "I think prior FCC chairmen have not demonstrated any genuine commitment to ensuring this seamless transition. Chairman Powell has now invested his reputation in making sure it happens."


He applauded the consumer electronics industry for the "softening" of its position on Powell's call for the inclusion of 8-VSB tuners in digital television sets.


Tauzin said he recently visited Hollywood and IT industry leaders in California and New York, and reported seeing "movement toward one another."


"The content community is beginning to embrace the Internet as a means of transmission of its very important product, and they are beginning to have a sense that all of this could be done in a system where content could be protected and yet, the rights of the consumers who enjoy these products can be protected," he said.
 

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The construction guy who is installing our bulletproof glass in the lobby wants to know if Tauzin will buy him STBs for his 7 TV sets. The receptionist said to put her down for 3. I don't think either one of them will be watching TV in 2007 otherwise.
 

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I can hear Joe 6 pack now:


So, ya tellin' me ahm gawna need a too-hunnert dohlur boks to huk too

my $149 tee-vee from wahl-mart or i kain't wach it no mo?

That's *[email protected]#$^^?? %$%**^*!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by bdfox18doe
I can hear Joe 6 pack now:


So, ya tellin' me ahm gawna need a too-hunnert dohlur boks to huk too

my $149 tee-vee from wahl-mart or i kain't wach it no mo?

That's *[email protected]#$^^?? %$%**^*!
And that is EXACTLY why the FCC should MANDATE digital tuners in all new TV's over 19 in. IMMEDIATELY. The smaller ones could come later, but digital tuners need to be in most sets now.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by timmy1376
And that is EXACTLY why the FCC should MANDATE digital tuners in all new TV's over 19 in. IMMEDIATELY. The smaller ones could come later, but digital tuners need to be in most sets now.
I agree completely. Getting digital tuners in television sets is absolutely critical to the transition.
 

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Works for me!
 

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Quote:
Tauzin said it is the expectation of Congress that broadcasters use at least a portion of the broadcast day to the transmission of high-definition television pictures, since HDTV broadcasting was the original reason that stations were given 6 MHz of spectrum bandwidth for digital broadcasting.


"We gave you 6 MHz because that was what it took (broadcasters] to do HDTV and clearly Congress intended you to at least show it to the American public, and you have an obligation to do it. We aren't saying you have to do it all the time. But you better doggoned well have at least some of it in the mix."


However, he stressed that enabling the set to empower Americans with greater digital tools is now the primary objective of the transition.


"When we talk about the digital television transition, we are not really talking about pretty pictures," Tauzin said. "Getting the television to speak the language of the computer age ? is really what Congress was all about when it set the 2006 deadline for television stations to make the full transition to digital."


He said Americans view the roles of television and the Internet as "necessities" in their lives today, and the goal of new technology is to bring the two together.


"Moving television into the digital age is all about enabling that set to do more and more in an Internet age — to communicate, educate, aid in commerce and literally expand that culture we call America," Tauzin said.
It's good to see explicit comments regarding HDTV carriage but every time I see comments regarding "the marriage of TV and the internet" etc, I really have to wonder. It's never anything specific, just some grand plan with vague ideas and references. Internet TV? Direct ordering from the Home Shopping Network? Interactive online (TV) classes? Who knows? And more importantly, does anybody other than the business opportunists really care?


ron
 

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And this is one of my biggest peeves against the lying moneygrubbers that have lobbied against HDTV since the early 1990's. I always hear "there is no evidence that there's any demand for HDTV". Well, I have never heard of any consumer demand for multicasting, interactivity, VOD, or any one of these cacamamie schemes they want to push on us. Where is the evidence that people want this stuff? On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that people would want HDTV once they see it. Certainly HDTV has more demand than any of these harebrained schemes. What gives?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kenglish
The construction guy who is installing our bulletproof glass in the lobby wants to know if Tauzin will buy him STBs for his 7 TV sets. The receptionist said to put her down for 3. I don't think either one of them will be watching TV in 2007 otherwise.
I don't think there is much to worry about. These 10 sets will be on their way to Goodwill once they get used to HDTV. Its just to painful go back to SD.


Ernie/NE6D
 
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