Blazing a New Trail
On August 8, 2002, the FCC issued a rule requiring television manufacturers to include over-the-air digital tuners in TV sets, starting in 2006. CEA estimates that the tuner mandate will raise the price of a TV set by more than $200. Because less than 13 percent of households rely on over-the-air reception for their TV signals, a successful DTV transition, in fact, depends on the implementation of a nationwide standard for sending HDTV programming over cable—known as cable "plug-and-play" compatibility. The lack of compatibility is the largest obstacle to the transition. The FCC also should ensure that broadcasters meet their obligations to broadcast HDTV.
We must balance the rights and expectations of consumers against the concerns of copyright owners. Ultimately, we must also preserve the manufacturer's right to innovate. CEA supports consumers' right to engage in in-home private, non-commercial recording. Negotiations among the information technology, CE and movie industries continue, and the imposition of further controls may be inevitable. Issues over how much control, which technology and whether watermarking is critical remain.
The Fat Pipe