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FCC Moves Up Digital Deadline

Aired August 8, 2002 - 10:39   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: The FCC has just voted and have approved by a 3-1 margin a decision now to force television manufacturers to install digital tuners in their television sets. All of this -- they expect all sets in the country to be there by 2004.
Now here -- the reason this is interesting, and it may be a bit controversial, is that the FCC has mandated that the U.S. should be switching over, the entire country, to a digital television system totally, and this is for over the air reception, because you know, there are two ways to get TV, by cable like us or satellite, and also by over the air.

Well, they're saying now that they want every station to be able to transmit digital television and they want every television to be able to receive it. The problem is that there are not that many stations doing it, and it means that as of 2004, you are going to have to pay 25 or 50 bucks more for every television that you buy that is going to have to have this receiver in it whether or not you can actually use that receiver. So, the law now is -- or that decision by the FCC is that the manufacturers cannot delay this anymore, the transition to digital television in this country has got to get started now, and it is going to start in 2004, and these digital receivers will be in TVs by then.

KAGAN: I guess it is an issue on the consumer's side. Also on the broadcasting side, I think there are a number of public television stations saying they don't have the money to convert.

HARRIS: They don't have the money to do it. It costs a ton of money to transfer to that sort of thing, and there aren't very many cities where there is that much digital TV to be had in the first place, so...

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