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FCC Dishes Out Fines over Digital Television Deadline

by April 11, 2008

The transition to digital television in 2009 is no small matter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has dealt 11 companies up to $6 Million in fines. A majority of the fines are going to retailers for not properly warning consumers about TVs with analog-only tuners.

Retailers taking the brunt of the fines include: Sears/K-Mart $1.09 million dollar and Wal-Mart with a $992,000 fine. Also significantly fined were Circuit City, Fry’s Electronics, Target, Best Buy and CompUSA.

The date that broadcasters must switch to digital television is fast approaching. The federal regulatory body is using the fines to send an important message that it takes the switch very seriously and is willing slap violators in the pocket-book.

The government is trying to ease the shock of the switch on consumers by offering two $40 vouchers for digital-to-analogue converter boxes to each household. But the FCC also wants retailers to properly mark new televisions that aren’t capable of receiving digital broadcast signals. Anyone buying a new television today would be wise to ensure it includes a digital tuner or the TV won’t be able to receive over-air broadcast television next year when the analogue TV clampdown goes into effect.

Other fines dished out by the FCC included $1.3 Million to the already ailing Syntax-Brillian Corp. and $358,000 against Precor Inc. for shipping and importing analog televisions after the deadline.

The FCC is also slapping violators of new V-chip regulations. V-chip is the parental TV feature that allows programming to be blocked based on rating systems to protect children from offensive material. Polaroid was snapped with a fine of $775,000 and a $300,000 fine was laid against Proview Technology Inc for shipping televisions that didn’t include the new version of the V-chip.

One signal is being broadcast loud and clear - the FCC is taking this transition to digital television very seriously.

About the author:

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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Recent Forum Posts:

Penny posts on April 13, 2008 08:28
TLS Guy, post: 400358
There is plenty of analog cable service around still. However you don't have to rent from the cable company when they switch to all digital, you can get your $40 and buy your own.

Gotcha. Thanks. I didn't realize there were still analog cable co.'s out there.
TLS Guy posts on April 13, 2008 08:22
Penny, post: 400352
Huh? That doesn't make any sense. If you get cable then you don't need a converter box.

Also, does the FCC actually have a big enough “bite” to get these companies to pay their fine? If I were Best Buy or CC I guess I'd tell the FCC to go screw.

There is plenty of analog cable service around still. However you don't have to rent from the cable company when they switch to all digital, you can get your $40 and buy your own.
Penny posts on April 13, 2008 07:30
Demonster, post: 399976
My wife and I are looking at changing to dish because the cable compan want to charge us another 10 bucks per month for the digital converter box on top of our current costs. Is the digital coverter something that you can use with an uinscrambled cable signal?

Huh? If you get cable then you don't need a converter box, right?

Also, does the FCC actually have a big enough “bite” to get these companies to pay their fine? If I were Best Buy or CC I guess I'd tell the FCC to go screw.
Demonster posts on April 11, 2008 18:31
GlocksRock, post: 399765
I think some of the salespeople should get fined too, as they are misinforming the customer telling them that they need to get a new tv, when all they need is a digital converter box. They should also advise them that they can get up to two $40 coupons from the gov. for the purchase of these converters. I got my two coupons, and already have the converter, and it's very nice, all the stations come in great, and I get more stations, plus a guide that I never would have gotten with analog broadcast signals.

My wife and I are looking at changing to dish because the cable compan want to charge us another 10 bucks per month for the digital converter box on top of our current costs. Is the digital coverter something that you can use with an uinscrambled cable signal?
scott911 posts on April 11, 2008 15:33
Syntax-Brillian Corp 1.3 million fine!

I feel bad that Syntax-Brillian choose to fight me for months and months over a warrentee issue involving their amazingly poor 20" EDTV.

- looks like Hope Frank and staff's time would have been much better spent paying attention to the FCC guidelines instead of investing so much effort in stone walling me!!!

Scott S.
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