E. Coupon-Eligible Converter Box
26. The Act defines the term “digital-to-analog converter box” (a CECB) as “a stand-alone device that does not contain features or functions except those necessary to enable a consumer to convert any channel broadcast in the digital television service into a format that the consumer can display on television receivers designed to receive and display signals only in the analog television service, but may also include a remote control device.”[ 57 ] NTIA’s Final Rule adopts technical specifications and features required for a CECB to qualify for the Coupon Program. Manufacturers are free to market converter boxes which do not comply with the requirements of the Final Rule, although such devices would not be eligible for the Coupon Program.
27. NTIA acknowledges that many sections of the NPRM incorporate standards or rules adopted by the FCC regarding digital television transmission or receiver requirements, and also incorporate industry standards and guidelines adopted by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), CEA or other organizations.[ 58 ] NTIA’s incorporation of these industry standards and guidelines or FCC standards and rules into its regulations is intended to assist converter-box manufacturers by gathering NTIA’s basic converter-box requirements in a single place. NTIA’s regulations do not supercede the FCC’s authority, affect any FCC requirement or revise any of the industry standards and guidelines discussed in this document. In these regulations, NTIA adopts technical specifications and features required for a CECB. NTIA recognizes that CECBs are not currently available to consumers, and that manufacturers will have barely 12 months to bring converter boxes compliant with NTIA specifications to market, less than the typical 18-month manufacturing cycle.[ 59 ]
28. NTIA underscores that the converter boxes that will be eligible for this program are in
development and are not yet commercially available. NTIA cannot warrant the performance, suitability or usefulness of any CECB.
29. The NPRM requested comment on NTIA’s proposed rule to define the converter box eligible for the Coupon Program. The NPRM presented several guidelines which NTIA used in developing the proposed rule and analyzing the comments submitted by the public. These guidelines include the ability of consumers to continue receiving broadcast programming in the same receiving configuration (e.g., same household antenna, same location) as used for the existing analog reception; that the CECBs be inexpensive but meet a minimum performance level; and that they should be easy to install and operate.[ 60 ]
30. The NPRM requested comment on several related issues, including the appropriate minimum technical capabilities for CECBs, their features; and the extent to which NTIA should consider certain standards, such as energy efficiency, in determining the type of converter box that would be eligible for the Coupon Program. Comment was also sought on how NTIA can determine whether a converter box meets the requirements of the Coupon Program and how the CECBs should be identified so the public is informed that a specific box is eligible for a coupon. Comments were received on each of these issues as well as additional areas. Each of these is discussed in the following sections.
a. Minimum Technical Specifications: ATSC Guidelines A/74 and FCC Part 73
31. The NPRM stated that “[f]or purposes of the coupon program, NTIA proposed certain standards for a minimum-capabilities converter box that simply converts an ATSC terrestrial digital broadcasting signal to the analog National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) format.”[ 61 ] The NPRM proposed that the converter box should be capable of receiving, decoding and presenting video and audio from digital television transmissions as specified in FCC Part 73 (47 C.F.R. Part 73) and that meet the ATSC Recommended Practice: Receiver Performance Guidelines ATSC A/74 (A/74).
32. NTIA received many comments regarding the technical specifications proposed in the NPRM. All the comments agreed that A/74 should form the basis of the technical specifications for the CECB.[ 62 ] One commenter, Zoran, urged NTIA to adopt, but not exceed, the A/74 guideline. Zoran stated that “[e]xceeding A/74 on a basic set top box calls for over engineering and the use of non-commodity parts that increase cost exponentially.”[ 63 ] Many of the commenters recommended that NTIA adopt performance specifications for the converter box that go beyond the receiver guidelines contained in A/74. The Joint Industry Comments noted that there have been ongoing improvements in technology since the A/74 guidelines were adopted in 2004 that would enable NTIA to set reasonable requirements exceeding A/74 performance levels in some areas and also to fill in some requirements for performance levels where A/74 only specified test procedures.[ 64 ] MTVA, an association of television stations that serve the New York City metropolitan area, echoed the Joint Industry Comments and indicated that it may be possible to improve on the A/74 performance levels with the fifth generation of VSB decoder chips and new RF tuners that have been developed since A/74 was adopted.[ 65 ] Charles Rhodes, former Chief Scientist of the Advanced Television Test Center, that tested the DTV systems adopted by the FCC in 1996, stated that A/74 was just a guideline and was never intended to serve as a minimum performance standard.[ 66 ]
33. The New America Foundation et al (NAF) also recommended that NTIA establish
performance specifications beyond those contained in A/74.[ 67 ]
NAF’s concerns regarding NTIA
converter-box specifications extend beyond the delivery of digital television to those who
currently depend on analog television. NAF argued that the quality of the converter boxes NTIA
mandates will affect the utility of the white spaces within TV channels 2-51 and noted that, in an
FCC NPRM on “Unlicensed Operation in the Broadcast Bands” (Docket 04-186), the FCC
expressed concern that low-quality DTV receivers could severely impact the utility of the white
spaces within TV channels 2-51.”[ 68 ]
NAF suggested that desensitization performance of the
converter boxes should be considered and should be equivalent to most of the stand-alone TV
sets presently marketed. NAF also proposed that detailed engineering measurements be made of
the susceptibility of current DTV receiver designs to interference from out of band signals.[ 69 ]
NAF noted that the FCC was conducting tests that will not be available until mid-2007, but
presented preliminary results of the three receiver tests it funded at the University of Kansas.[ 70 ]
Raising another issue regarding interference, MTVA recommended that NTIA adopt MTVA
specifications for NTSC into DTV taboo channels (television channels that cannot be used
because of interference with other channels).[ 71 ]
MTVA did not provide laboratory or real world
measurements supporting its recommendation or information on whether manufacturers can
currently build DTV equipment capable of meeting proposed specifications.
34. The comments filed by these organizations all highlight areas where the commenters believe the A/74 Receiver Performance Guidelines of June 18, 2004, do not provide a sufficient level of performance for the CECB. The technical comments and thoughtful recommendations of these commenters prompted NTIA to reexamine the NPRM proposal that the A/74 guidelines be adopted as the performance specifications for the CECBs.
35. While all of these commenters recommend that NTIA adopt specifications or tests to qualify a CECB that go beyond those in the A/74 guidelines, they each present differing technical recommendations.[ 72 ] NTIA shares the concern of the commenters that CECBs perform at a level to meet the reception needs of the American public. NTIA has carefully analyzed the recommendations presented by the commenters, and has seen no scientific data that any proposed set of technical specifications will ensure any given level of performance of converter boxes in real-world environments. Many of the commenters recommend that further tests be performed.[ 73 ] Given the requirements of the Act that coupons be available for CECBs early in 2008, there is time neither for additional analysis testing as proposed by the commenters nor for the establishment of industry-accepted standards following such tests.[ 74 ]
36. While NTIA cannot guarantee the performance of the CECBs, NTIA intends that coupons be used for converter boxes using current technology available in the marketplace. To this end, NTIA recognizes that digital reception technology has advanced in the two years since the adoption of A/74. Further, NTIA recognizes that in order to qualify a converter box to meet minimum specifications, it must, in the words of the Joint Industry Comments “fill in some requirements for performance levels where ATSC A/74 only specified test procedures.”[ 75 ]
37. Having reviewed the comments filed by many parties, NTIA has accepted the technical recommendations of the Joint Industry Comments as the basis for the minimum technical specifications of the CECB. The Joint Industry Comments represent a collaboration by the broadcast industry and the consumer electronics industry to present a set of technical specifications which both industries believe can provide the American consumer with a high-quality, low-cost and easy-to-use CECB. The Joint Industry Comments use the A/74 guidelines as the basis for their proposal, but propose several revisions to reflect advances in technology in the two years since the A/74 standard was adopted. Further, they propose target performance levels in several areas where A/74 only specifies test procedures. The NAB and MSTV have funded the development of converter-box prototypes from two manufacturers which they state demonstrate that the technical specifications they propose are “clearly achievable in practical products designed to be amenable to production in mass manufacturing quantities. Further, the project results provide tangible evidence that a high-quality, low-cost converter box can be built with measured performance that exceeds the levels specified in the ATSC A/74 Recommended Practice on Receiver Performance in several important areas and consequently can provide reliable reception under a variety of real-world conditions.”[ 76 ]
38. NTIA believes that CECBs should be produced according to specifications currently accepted by major manufacturers. It would be contrary to the public interest if coupons were used to purchase converters designed with obsolete or poorly performing components.[ 77 ] On the other hand, some commenters suggested technical specifications that have not been widely agreed upon nor quantified; and products in widespread commercial deployment have not been tested to these specifications. The technical specifications adopted by NTIA should provide American consumers with an economical CECB containing state-of-the-art technology available today from manufacturers within the time frame required by the Act.
39. Therefore, NTIA adopts the required minimum features and technical specifications in Technical Appendix 1 of the Final Rule. In addition, NTIA specifies permitted and prohibited features of a CECB in Technical Appendix 2.
b. Converter-Box Antenna Inputs
i. Smart Antenna
40. The NPRM proposed that the only input to the converter box shall be for an external antenna. The NPRM stated that “[a] single input (Type F connector) ensures that only an antenna can be connected to eligible boxes thus ensuring use of such boxes as for over-the-air television reception only.”[ 78 ] The F-type connector is the standard antenna input in most television receivers. While the F-type connector was supported by all who commented on antenna inputs, many commenters requested that an additional antenna input be permitted in the CECB. Most of the comments proposing an additional antenna input requested the flexibility to include an interface for a technology known as a smart antenna.[ 79 ] A smart antenna allows for automatic electronic steering and signal-level control so a consumer can receive the best signal for each channel. The Joint Industry Comments stated that in many markets, television stations’ transmitters are located on different sides of the population center due to separation requirements or other practical considerations outside their control. In these instances, consumers can achieve the best reception using electronically steered smart antennas.[ 80 ]
41. MTVA stated that in difficult reception environments, the DTV video and audio is either perfect or nonexistent and the use of a smart antenna can mean the difference between having good DTV service or no service.[ 81 ] CERC noted that a smart antenna would “better allow consumers to adjust for propagation characteristics and set capabilities. This may minimize consumer disappointment and post-sale product exchanges.”[ 82 ]
42. Zoran, however, opposed the use of a smart antenna and only supported the use of a passive antenna. RadioShack supported the option of a smart antenna interface in a CECB. In its comments, RadioShack did not propose that a smart antenna interface be mandated as it will add unnecessary cost for many consumers, but recommended that it should be an option in a certified converter box for those consumers who seek it.[ 83 ]
43. NTIA recognizes that DTV reception can be difficult in many regions of the country. The NPRM stated that “[i]deally, a converter box should be able to receive digital broadcast signals in the same receiving configuration (e.g., same household antenna, same location) as used for the existing analog reception.”[ 84 ] NTIA notes, however, recent GAO congressional testimony indicating that antenna reception of digital signals may vary based on a household’s geography and other factors.[ 85 ] In addition, antennas configured for primarily VHF service may not be as effective as many stations switch to UHF frequencies.
44. After reviewing the comments from Joint Industry Comments, MTVA and others, as well as the GAO congressional testimony, NTIA concludes that many consumers may wish to use smart antennas. While NTIA expects that the industry will continue to work on improving the performance and reduce the cost of both passive and active smart antennas, NTIA believes that many consumers will benefit from smart-antenna technology to receive over-the-air digital television broadcasts. It is clear, however, that a smart-antenna interface will add to the cost of the converter box and will not be needed by many households.
45. In order to permit the inclusion of a smart antenna, but not add to the cost of the converter box for those who do not require this capability, the Final Rule will permit, but not require, manufacturers to include in their CECBs the circuitry and connectors associated with the so-called smart-antenna interface.
46. In its comments, Funai supported the use of a smart antenna and recommended that “the ‘bundling’ of such an antenna with a DTA box should not preclude eligibility for the subsidy.”[ 86 ] Funai suggested that “[a]lthough prices may fluctuate due to market conditions, we conservatively estimate that it is possible to price a DTA and Smart-Antenna bundle at less than $100.”[ 87 ] NTIA does not believe that the bundling of a smart antenna with a converter box meets the requirement of the Act which defines a CECB as a “stand-alone” device.[ 88 ] The purchase of a smart antenna at the same time a consumer purchases a converter box equipped with a smart-antenna interface will ease the installation and operation of the converter box for many people. Manufacturers or retailers may wish to offer combined purchases of converter boxes with smart antenna interfaces and smart antennas at promotional prices. The CECB, however, must be presented for sale at all outlets as a stand-alone single unit and cannot be sold conditioned on the purchase of any other items.
47. CEA-909 is the current industry standard for a smart antenna interface. MTVA stated that “eligibility should not be limited to only devices that comply with this standard (CEA-909) since such a requirement could preclude or delay technological advances in this area that are now being considered.”[ 89 ] NTIA recognizes that technological advances are being made in many areas of digital television broadcasting. In order for this program to proceed so converter boxes can be available to the public in 2008, however, NTIA must establish a Final Rule to specify CECBs which manufacturers will build during 2007. A reference to this standard will be included in the Final Rule for the program.
iv. 300 Ohm Inputs
48. The Community Broadcasters Association (CBA) did not object to NTIA’s proposal that a CECB have an RF input, but recommended that “manufacturers who choose to add a 300-ohm input with screw terminals should not be penalized for doing so.”[ 90 ] The CBA comments included no further explanation or information supporting this recommendation. NTIA recognizes that use of 300-ohm antenna inputs is old technology and has no information on the number of television receivers in use today that are equipped only with 300-ohm antenna inputs. NTIA also recognizes that many inexpensive indoor “rabbit-ear” antennas have 300-ohm connectors. NTIA notes that manufacturers of television receivers commonly include inexpensive matching transformers to connect 300-ohm ribbon leads to Type F inputs rather than including built-in 300-ohm antenna inputs, and that such transformers are commonly available where television receivers are sold. We believe that the use of these inexpensive transformers is the most economical method of meeting the needs of those consumers who have television receivers which only contain 300-ohm inputs. The Final Rule, therefore, will permit, but not require, manufacturers to include matching transformers to connect 300-ohm ribbon leads to the required Type F connectors. The Final Rule will also permit manufacturers to provide connectors for 300-ohm inputs on the CECB.
c. Analog Signal Pass Through
49. The National Translator Association recommended that the CECBs pass analog signals directly through without processing or modification.[ 91 ] The CBA also requested that NTIA require that CECBs pass through an analog signal, either actively or passively. CBA noted that Class A and LPTV stations are not subject to the February 17, 2009 end-of-transition deadline, applicable to full-power stations. It indicated that it was important that the converter box not block the analog signal.[ 92 ] LPTV licensee Island Broadcasting noted that thousands of LPTV stations in the United States will remain analog after the transition and are not carried on a cable system or other multi-channel video delivery service. Island recommended that the converter box contain a feature to pass through the analog signal from the antenna to the TV receiver, either when the box is shut off, the signal is passed, or by means of a built in by-pass switch.[ 93 ] Funai, however, noted that “[a]n analog pass through, while conveniently retaining legacy analog TV support, would degrade the RF noise performance of all so-equipped DTA tuners by 3dB – a penalty that could not be recovered by any consumer with such a unit.” Funai recommended that a consumer purchase a separate switch and/or external splitter to receive analog television.[ 94 ]
50. NTIA is sensitive to the needs of consumers who will wish to continue to view over-the-air analog television during and after the digital transition. Not only will many consumers continue to rely on analog television reception of Class A stations, LPTV stations and translators after the transition, many consumers who purchase the CECB will require the ability to receive analog television signals during the transition period as not all full-power television stations in the United States have completed their digital build-out. NTIA, however, is reluctant to require an analog pass through feature because it will result in a reduction in received signal level and in increased cost to all consumers who purchase a CECB. The amount of reduction in receiver sensitivity and increased cost is dependent on how the analog pass through feature is implemented. This reduction may not be noticeable to consumers who receive strong signals in urban areas, but may mean that consumers who receive marginal digital and analog signals will be unable to receive television signals via the CECB. NTIA notes that switches and external splitters are commonly available where television sets are sold. A single A/B switch will not fully bypass a CECB, however, creating a difficult wiring scenario for the consumers. Splitters and their inherent loss as well as additional cabling makes their use less than optimal in fringe reception areas. NTIA strongly urges manufacturers to take into consideration the needs of consumers to receive analog television along with digital television in the development of CECBs and to investigate minimal signal loss solutions that would ensure an acceptable analog signal pass-through. In the Final Rule, NTIA permits that the converter box to pass through the analog signal from the antenna to the TV receiver.
d. Converter-Box Outputs
i. RF and Composite Video Outputs
51. The NPRM proposed that the converter box contain the following outputs: Composite video and stereo audio (all three RCA connectors) and Channel 3 or 4 switchable (NTSC) RF (Type F connector) output. RadioShack recommended that NTIA permit the inclusion of an RF modulator output as an option, but not require this feature. RadioShack stated that “there are only a limited number of households with televisions requiring RF modulators, and of those households, many have already purchased RF modulators in order to connect such devices as DVD players and game consoles, etc. Thus, mandating that all consumers pay extra for a product they do not need or may already have in order to satisfy the needs of a smaller number of consumers seems inconsistent with Congress’ desire to subsidize a reasonably priced converter box.”[ 95 ]
52. Most commenters on the subject supported the inclusion of both composite video/audio and RF outputs in the converter box. THAT Corporation (THAT Corp.) noted in its comments that “[t]o utilize these (composite video) outputs, consumers must be able to connect three separate cables from these converter box outputs to three corresponding inputs on the TV monitor. . . such a hookup requires a degree of technical competence lacking in many consumers.”[ 96 ] All receiver manufacturers supported the inclusion of both RF and composite outputs as did comments received from other members of the public. A few commenters suggested that NTIA permit the converter box to include an S-video output.[ 97 ] S-video is an analog output which delivers standard definition video to the television receiver.
53. As noted earlier, NTIA seeks to ensure that the CECB will be easy to install and operate. The RF output is very easy to use as it only requires the consumer to connect a single cable between the converter box and the analog television. The Final Rule, therefore, requires that the CECB include an RF output and also requires that the CECB include composite outputs for those consumers who wish to continue to use the features provided by this technology. NTIA will also permit a S-video output which provides a better standard definition picture using a simple and inexpensive hookup with one cable.
54. In its comments, Funai recommended that NTIA clarify the types of outputs that would not be permitted in a CECB. Funai commented that “we feel that it is inappropriate to extend Coupon Program eligibility to devices that support high-definition (HDTV) viewing, i.e., a display with higher-than-standard definition video resolution.”[ 98 ] Funai then listed a series of connectors which it felt should not be permitted in the NTIA supported converter box. Funai requested that the following connectors be excluded from the converter box program: Digital Video Interface (DVI), high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI), analog component video (YPbPr), computer video (VGA), as well as USB IEEE-1394 (sometimes trademarked as iLink or Firewire), or IEEE-802.3 (Ethernet) or IEEE-802.11 (wireless).[ 99 ] Funai further recommended that “any device that includes an integrated display intended for use as the primary video presentation should be ineligible for the Subsidy.”[ 100 ]
55. In the NPRM, NTIA proposed that “the converter box would not be required to render pictures and sound at more than standard definition quality.”[ 101 ] This proposal follows from the definition of a converter box contained in the Act, which limits the converter box to a unit so “the consumer can display on television receivers designed to receive and display signals only in the analog television service.”[ 102 ] If NTIA were to permit any digital output to the CECB, then it would cease to be a digital-to-analog converter and would become a digital tuner capable of providing a digital signal to a television monitor. This would clearly be beyond the plain language of the Act which states that the CECB shall “convert any channel broadcast in the digital television service into a format that the consumer can display on television receivers designed to receive and display signals only in the analog television service.”[ 103 ]
56. Therefore, NTIA specifies in the Final Rule those connectors that will not be permitted in a CECB. Likewise, NTIA clarifies in the Final Rule that CECBs are prohibited from containing items such as display screens, recorders or storage devices that go beyond the simple task of converting a digital television signal to an analog signal for display on analog television receivers.
ii. Audio outputs
57. Two organizations, the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and THAT Corp., commented on NTIA’s proposal that the outputs include stereo audio. The NPRM proposed that “[t]he outputs shall be channel 3 or 4 (NTSC modulated signals), composite video (NTSC baseband), and audio (stereo).”[ 104 ]
58. THAT Corp. requested that NTIA clarify the stereo requirement proposed in the NPRM. They noted that the proposed output with “composite video (NTSC baseband), and audio (stereo)” will provide the analog television receiver with a stereo audio signal. THAT Corp. continued stating that the proposed output on “channel 3 or 4 (NTSC modulated signals)” does not, by itself, provide a stereo signal to the analog television receiver. THAT Corp. notes that “the RF output will contain stereo (left/right) audio information if, and only if, the output contains BTSC stereo audio information.”[ 105 ] They recommended that NTIA specify that the RF output must contain BTSC stereo audio information.
59. NCAM recommended that the converter boxes’ audio outputs support the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) service where video description for blind individuals is provided. NCAM indicated that video description within digital television signals will be delivered via multiple ancillary audio services (including alternate language audio) and these additional audio channels should be available via the subsidized converter box.[ 106 ] NTIA notes that television stations are not required to broadcast video descriptions.[ 107 ] None of the commenters provided information regarding the number of digital television stations providing video description services, the number of people served by such services, or the number of manufacturers currently building digital television equipment capable of processing such services. NTIA believes that it would be desirable for manufacturers to include a capability in CECBs that will enable the use of SAP type services, including video description.[ 108 ] We note that because digital television encodes audio in a different manner than the encoding used in analog television, digital television does not utilize the SAP channel present in analog television. Standards and guidelines for digital television audio are contained in ATSC publications A/52, A/53 and A/54.[ 109 ] Section 6.6 of A/54 provides for two types of main audio service and six types of associated services, including associated services for the visually impaired (VI). The A/54 standard also permits the transmission of secondary language programming and reserves associated audio services for the hearing impaired (HI) and for emergencies (E). Because of the important public services that may be provided by these associated audio services, NTIA will permit CECBs to be capable of processing these associated audio services broadcast by a digital television station, particularly as more stations provide them in the coming years.
60. Manufacturers may provide output for the main channel audio service and associated audio services on the RF Type F connector by using either of the following two methods. NTIA will permit manufacturers to follow current industry practice regarding RF outputs for audio/video equipment which provides a mono RF output which is switchable between a station’s main channel audio and other associated audio services. In this instance, consumers could use a button on the converter box remote control to select the RF output for a station’s monaural main channel audio or toggle through a station’s visually impaired (VI) or other associated audio services. NTIA will also permit manufacturers to provide BTSC Multichannel Television Sound (stereo audio) in the RF output. The BTSC stereo audio signal and included SAP carrier will provide stereo main channel or visually impaired or other associated audio service to the television receiver as selected by the consumer. Consumers will also have the option of receiving stereo audio through the converter box’s left/right audio outputs (RCA connectors).
iii. Multicast Reception
61. Funai asked NTIA to clarify its interpretation of the Act which defines the converter box in part, as a device “to enable a consumer to convert any channel broadcast in the digital television service.” Funai stated that the converter box “should provide access to all ‘sub-channels’ of a DTV transmission, i.e., the so-called ‘major and minor’ channels that may be transmitted as a ‘multicast’ by the broadcast operator.”[ 110 ] NTIA believes that multicast capability is an integral feature of digital television transmission and the Act clearly intends that the CECB convert all channels, including those that are multicast. NTIA notes that the Act’s definition requires the converter box to “enable a consumer to convert any channel broadcast in the digital television service into a format that the consumer can display on television receivers designed to receive and display signals only in the analog television service.”[ 111 ] The Act, therefore, does not permit the output to another device such as a computer which might be required to capture streams of data included on the digital television transport stream. The Final Rule will clarify that a CECB is required to receive, decode and display all channels, including multicast channels, broadcast by digital television station that can be displayed on an analog television receiver.
e. Requirements for Closed Captioning, Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Parental Controls (V-Chip)
62. NTIA proposed in the NPRM that CECBs comply with FCC requirements for Closed Captioned, Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the required parental controls (V-chip).[ 112 ] Several commenters noted that the FCC Rules require that television tuners decode Captioning and Parental Control (V-Chip) and, therefore, NTIA regulations are not required in this regard.[ 113 ]
63. Several commenters state that there are no FCC-imposed specific EAS requirements on television receivers at this time.[ 114 ] NTIA notes that the FCC requires that all digital television stations participate in the Emergency Alert System after December 31, 2006.[ 115 ] The Emergency Alert System is an important way that national, state and local emergency management personnel reach the public with emergency messages. It is, therefore, in the public interest that all television viewers be able to receive and display EAS messages. The Final Rule will include a requirement that, in order to be eligible to participate in the NTIA Coupon Program, a CECB must be capable of receiving, decoding and displaying EAS messages broadcast by digital television stations as required by the FCC Rules.[ 116 ]
64. NTIA believes that it is helpful to manufacturers that the Final Rule provide a comprehensive listing of features required for a CECB. With regard to Closed Captioning and Parental Controls, NTIA will require that CECBs comply with the FCC receiver requirements for Closed Captioning and Parental Controls and NTIA will not impose any requirements beyond those contained in the FCC Rules.[ 117 ]
f. Tuning Capability to All Television Channels 2-69
65. There was no opposition to the NPRM proposal that the converter box tune to all television channels, 2-69. This proposed rule reaffirmed the FCC Rules that “TV broadcast receivers shall be capable of adequately receiving all channels allocated by the Commission to the television broadcast service.”[ 118 ] NTIA clarifies that the CECB is required to receive signals for those television channels that will be “out of core” (channels 52-69) once the digital transition is complete.
66. In its comments, CBA notes that it is important that the tuning capability of boxes not stop at channel 51 because Class A and LPTV stations are permitted to operate on channels 52-69 on a secondary basis even after the February 17, 2009 deadline when full power stations must broadcast within the FCC’s “core” channels, 2-51. Moreover, operation on temporary companion digital channels will be permitted on channels 52-59, even after the end of the full-power transition; and temporary flash-cut digital operations is permitted on channels 60-69 when no other channel is available.[ 119 ]
67. NTIA did not receive comments opposing the action. The Final Rule contains the requirement that the CECB receive all television channels 2-69.
g. Remote Control
68. In the NPRM, NTIA proposed that the CECB be operable by and include a remote control. The Act specifically permits NTIA to require a remote control, and remote control units are now standard with almost all consumer video equipment such as television receivers, VCR and DVD players and recorders. There were few comments on the requirement to include a remote control. Brittain noted that there may be “real-world reasons for requiring a remote (such as to provide the minimum ATSC functionality).”[ 120 ]
69. NCAM called NTIA’s attention to the difficulty the blind and visually handicapped have in using remote controls. NCAM recommended that the CECB’s remote control contain dedicated keys which provide direct access to the closed captioning function and the SAP/video description function.[ 121 ] To that extent NCAM directed NTIA’s attention to Section 508 related to products purchased by the Federal government. Section 508 applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain or use electronic and information technology.[ 122 ] Although converter boxes may fall under the definition of electronic and information technology, NTIA is not developing, procuring, maintaining or using CECBs; therefore, Section 508 is not applicable to CECBs in NTIA’s program. Nevertheless, NTIA strongly urges manufacturers to take into consideration the needs of consumers with disabilities in the development of CECBs.
70. In order to ease customer use of the remote control, the Final Rule will require that the remote control is supplied with batteries and uses standard technology and codes commonly used by television manufacturers as part of remote controls provided with television receivers. The standard codes for the remote control will be included in the CECB instructions so consumers can, at a minimum, program an existing remote control to turn on and off both the converter box and their existing analog television receiver. The Final Rule will also permit the manufacturer to provide a programmable remote control which can accept the code of the consumer’s existing analog receiver and related video/audio equipment.
h. Program Information Displays (Electronic Program Guide)
71. Many commenters raised the issue of whether the inclusion of an electronic program guide would disqualify a converter from being eligible for the Coupon Program. The Joint Industry Comments stated that the requirement that broadcasters transmit program content information is included in the FCC’s adoption of the ATSC A/65 standard regarding transmission of Program System Information Protocol (PSIP), including program content details in digital television broadcast signals. They felt that this requirement “is premised on the FCC’s conviction that a mechanism for locating digital channel and program content, including multicast channels, is an integral feature of the digital television experience.”[ 123 ]
72. The inclusion of an electronic program guide was supported by television receiver manufacturers Samsung, Thomson and LG Electronics. LG Electronics noted that “[e]ase of use is particularly important given the ability of digital broadcasters to transmit multiple program streams (i.e, multicast) via their DTV signals.”[ 124 ] CERC recommended that the converter boxes contain program guides and the capability to process PSIP data because such features may be of assistance to consumers that are inexperienced in finding and tuning digital channels. They also note that the components and software for displaying PSIP data are commonly included in the manufacture of televisions.[ 125 ]
73. Gemstar-TV Guide International (“Gemstar”) requested that NTIA permit the inclusion of hardware and software that would enable a consumer to receive Gemstar’s TV Guide On Screen electronic program guide or other third-party guides. Gemstar notes that distribution of television program information is required by the A/65 standard, which defines the PSIP. The PSIP also includes information about the multicast channels and contains the parental control (V-chip) information required by the FCC. Gemstar further notes that many televisions are equipped with built-in capability to receive and display Gemstar’s TV Guide On Screen service. Gemstar stated that it is working with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers regarding the Digital Video Standard 706 “VBI-in-MPEG” which will allow carriage of existing analog standard definition video VBI signals in digital broadcast transmissions.[ 126 ]
74. RadioShack sought clarification that it would be permissible to include full PSIP capability and noted that over-the air television viewers will see the number of broadcast channels increase fourfold and thus having the television appropriately display the channels is an important feature for these viewers. RadioShack also noted that because the functionality is imbedded in chips already, providing this functionality adds no cost to the box.[ 127 ]
75. After reviewing the comments received on the NPRM, NTIA requires that the converter box receive, decode and display information contained in the PSIP broadcast pursuant to the A/65 standard. NTIA notes that television receivers must decode the PSIP in order to display the parental controls required by the FCC. The basic capability of decoding PSIP information, therefore, is already required of all converter boxes. Moreover, with PSIP functionality incorporated in ATSC tuner chips, it would be costly and impractical to require manufacturers to build converters without such functionality.
76. Further, NTIA will permit, but not require, a CECB to display other electronic program information. As noted by many of the commenters, this capability will assist the consumer in navigating through the many channels that will be provided by digital broadcasters. NTIA believes the means to achieve such electronic program information should be left to the judgment of individual receiver manufacturers who will be permitted to make hardware and software modifications necessary to display electronic program information.
i. Software Upgrades
77. Several commenters recommended that NTIA require that a CECB be capable of receiving software updates from an over-the-air terrestrial broadcast distribution service.[ 128 ] Update Logic noted that the converter boxes are essentially small computers which contain a set of software programs, software that has bugs and needs updates. They also noted that in everything from PCs to cell phones to ATMs, routine and multiple software upgrades have been installed to fix errors, improve quality and maintain functionality. The converter box will be no different.[ 129 ]
78. CBA noted that digital television technology is likely to advance in the not-too-distant future, as equipment manufacturers seek to make the system more robust and efficient. If upgrade capability is forbidden, then the boxes that qualify for subsidies may become obsolete and may be discarded before the end of the useful life of their electronic components. In no event should the program impose a restriction that will shorten the useful life of the product.[ 130 ]
79. NCAM echoed these comments and added that over-the-air software download mechanisms are available to assure the continuing successful operation of the boxes and should be required as part of the maintenance program that should also be put in place by manufacturers of the devices. Software downloads will accommodate any potential future changes to emergency alerting, closed captioning or V-chip parental control ratings as they may develop.[ 131 ] Both the NAF and the National Council of Women’s Organizations reiterated that converter boxes should have the capability of receiving software downloads to repair problems and make necessary updates.[ 132 ]
80. National Datacast indicated that an industry standard for software downloads exists. “The broadcast and CD industry anticipated the need for firmware updates and created the ATSC ‘Software Data Download Specification’ (A-97) which was ratified in 2004.” [ 133 ]
81. After reviewing these comments, NTIA believes that the automatic software download and upgrade capability proposed by the commenters is a desirable feature that could materially ease the consumer’s use of the CECB. The use of automatic software upgrades could benefit both manufacturers in updating software and the users in upgrading a CECB’s authorized features. It is NTIA’s understanding that this automatic software update feature was only recently field tested and is not currently commercially available, even in expensive television receivers[ 134 ] NTIA is reluctant to require that manufacturers include in a CECB this new technology which is just emerging from field tests. The Final Rule will, therefore, permit a CECB to receive and decode software pursuant to ATSC Standard A-97.
j. Energy Specifications
82. In response to its request for comments on whether and to what extent NTIA should consider energy usage in determining eligibility criteria, [ 135 ] several comments urged NTIA to either adopt minimum requirements or, on a permissive basis, encourage manufacturers to incorporate certain energy efficiency features. In addition to several comments generally urging NTIA to address energy usage, three areas of specific recommendations emerged from the comments: (1) an automatic power down feature and maximum power level for converters in “sleep” or standby mode; (2) a maximum power level in the “on” or operating mode; and (3) the effect of an NTIA energy specification on various state regulations and proposals.
83. The majority of comments support adoption of some type of energy usage requirement into the eligibility criteria for CECBs.[ 136 ] With respect to NTIA’s proposal to consider the CECB’s cost, comments advised NTIA to consider that energy costs could raise the box’s overall cost. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a converter without energy usage limits of any kind would cost “more than two times more to operate over its estimated 5 year life than its estimated $40-$50 purchase cost.”[ 137 ] Comments assert that energy standards for CECBs would reduce the energy cost for U.S. consumers, thereby lowering the overall cost of ownership.
84. The record suggests that significant operating cost and energy savings could be achieved by requiring CECBs to include an auto power-down feature and standby power limits. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that televisions are not in use in typical households for 18-20 hours per day, yet converter boxes may remain on during that time if no one turns them off or if there is no automatic power-down feature.[ 138 ] The EPA urged NTIA to require an auto power-down feature, to mandate that products be shipped with the feature enabled, and also suggested an auto power down feature after four hours of user inactivity, combined with a one watt power limit in standby mode.
85. A supplementary comment was received from the Joint Industry Comments with the additional support of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the CERC[ 139 ] requesting NTIA adopt two energy use performance specifications: (a) converters shall use no more than two watts of electricity in a “Sleep” state, and (b) converters shall meet an automatic power-down requirement after four hours of inactivity.[ 140 ] The Joint Industry Energy Comment also recommended these settings be enabled at the factory as default settings that could be changed by the consumer.[ 141 ]
86. Walmart also supported an automatic standby mode after four hours with a maximum allowable standby level of two watts.[ 142 ] The standby energy level of two watts is also consistent with the CEA’s voluntary standard CEA-2013 and is appropriate for the narrow purposes of the converter coupon program.[ 143 ] No comments opposed adoption of a four-hour standby trigger or a two watt standby energy level. NTIA believes that consumers will benefit significantly from an automatic power-down feature triggered after four hours of inactivity and a “sleep” state operating power level of two watts. Therefore, NTIA will require these performance capabilities for eligible converters.
87. ACEEE calculated that significant cost savings could be realized through capping a CECB’s operating power limits at eight watts, a reduction from an estimated 17 or 18 watts.[ 144 ] No other comments suggested an operating limit be imposed. Walmart stated that while it is “very supportive of efforts to reduce the ‘On-mode’ power use due to the additional energy savings they can provide, we are deferring such discussions to other policy forums such as ENERGY STAR and state standard setting procedures.”[ 145 ]
88. We are aware that, on January 31, 2007, the EPA's ENERGY STAR program adopted voluntary specifications for converter boxes. The EPA's voluntary specifications include one watt power consumption during the “sleep” mode and also include eight watt power consumption during the “on” mode.[ 146 ] NTIA's requirements for a CECB include two watt power consumption during the “sleep” mode, and does not include a specification for power consumption during the “on” mode. NTIA urges manufacturers participating in the Coupon Program to adopt those ENERGY STAR specifications.
89. Some comments assert that cost savings could be achieved by adopting a single, national pre-emptive energy consumption standard.[ 147 ] These parties are concerned that by permitting states to enact their own energy efficiency standards for converter boxes, the cost would rise for all converter boxes as manufacturers attempt to design, manufacturer, test and distribute boxes that comply with varying requirements of individual states. Motorola generally opposed including energy standards into the regulations, but said that to the extent that an energy requirement is considered, it should be instituted at the Federal level and not the state level to avoid inconsistent and costly requirements.[ 148 ]
90. NTIA is adopting these performance capabilities solely for the purpose of implementing the Coupon Program and does not intend to influence any other Federal or state agency activity regarding energy efficiency guidelines or requirements for CECBs. Converter boxes are not yet commercially available and manufacturers are willing to design and produce them as new products with these energy efficiency requirements.[ 149 ] NTIA is also persuaded by those comments regarding the cost savings that can be achieved by converter boxes that incorporate energy efficient standards.
k. Other proposals regarding the converter box specifications.
91. KTech, a manufacturer of DTV equipment, provided several recommendations regarding features of the CECB. KTech recommended that the CECB contain a LED power light to allow users to determine if the external power is connected to the unit. KTech noted that “a ‘power-good’ display function [should be] allowed on the converter as a possible health and status display of the unit.”[ 150 ] NTIA has determined that a power light LED will be useful to consumers in the operation of the CECB, and the Final Rule will require a power light indicating when the unit is turned on.
92. KTech believes that, as written, the NPRM only permits an antenna input and does not state that an external AC/DC power input connector is allowed on the CECB. In the Final Rule, NTIA clarifies the power input connections and also responds to several comments regarding the use of battery power. Brittain noted that, as a safety measure, “many people have a second, battery-operated TV for use if the power goes out; virtually all of these are analog, and it will likely be years before similar DTVs are available at an affordable price.” He recommended that the Final Rule “should be written so as not to prohibit battery-powered boxes, which would be a necessity for battery-powered TVs.”[ 151 ] Because of the public interest benefit, the Final Rule, therefore, permits, but does not require, manufacturers to provide converter boxes that operate on battery power as well as those which use an external AC/DC power input.
93. KTech also recommends that NTIA require that the CECB display a variety of technical
measurements to assist consumers in improving television reception. KTech notes a variety of possible reception impairments (e.g., multi-path interference and signal blockage). KTech recommends that the CECB display test measurement results for RF power level expressed in dBm, measured Signal-to-Noise Ratio number expressed in dB, measured Bit Error Rate and other technical measurements that could aid the consumer in taking steps to improve signal reception.[ 152 ]
94. NTIA recognizes that television signal reception for some consumers will present challenges, whether analog or digital. As discussed earlier, to assist consumers in improving signal reception, the Final Rule permits the inclusion of a smart antenna interface in the signal box. NTIA notes that the A/74 guidelines states that “[t]he capability to display received signal quality conditions on a quasi-real time basis is a feature that should be included in all digital broadcast receivers.” To further assist consumers in improving signal reception, we include in the Final Rule provisions that require manufacturers to include software which will display on the television receiver signal strength and permit the display of other operating parameters chosen by the manufacturer. Display of signal information on the television receiver will provide information to the consumer at minimal cost. NTIA will not, however, specify exactly what such signal-quality information should contain. NTIA will follow the guideline of A/74, that “[m]eans to achieve such signal quality indications should be left to the judgment of individual receiver manufacturers.”[ 153 ]
95. Brittain recommends that the CECB come with a Type F cable to connect the RF output of the converter box to the RF input of the television receiver.[ 154 ] Because most consumers who purchase a CECB will require at least a cable of this type, we believe that such an RF cable is integral to the use of the converter and should be required. The Final Rule will, therefore, require that manufacturers supply an RF cable and also permit manufacturers to supply additional cables, such as a cable with three RCA connectors, if they desire.
[ 57 ] See Section 3005(d) of the Act.
[ 58 ] FCC receiver standards are set forth at 47 C.F.R. § 15.117; FCC transmission standards are set forth at 47 C.F.R. §73.682. Examples of industry standards and guidelines incorporated in this Final Rule are ATSC A/74 and CEA 909.
[ 59 ] Thomson Comments at 8.
[ 60 ] NPRM, 71 Fed. Reg. at 42,069-70.
[ 61 ] Id. at 42,069.
[ 62 ] See e.g., Funai Comments at 7; Microtune Comments at 1; Motorola Comments at 2.
[ 63 ] Zoran Comments at. 2.
[ 64 ] Joint Industry Comments at i. See also LG Electronics Comments at 10; Samsung Comments at 2; Thomson Comments at 4.
[ 65 ] MTVA Comments at 9-10.
[ 66 ] Charles W. Rhodes Comments at 1.
[ 67 ] See Comments from New America Foundation, Media Access Project Consumer Federation of America, Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (Wispa), Acorn Active Media Foundation Community Technology Centers’ Network, Champaign Urbana Community Wireless Network (Cuwin), The Ethos Group, and Freenetworks.org (collectively, referred to hereafter as NAF Comments).
[ 68 ] NAF Comments at 2; See also Charles W. Rhodes Comments at 1.
[ 69 ] NAF Comments at 5.
[ 70 ] NAF 2nd Comments (November 16, 2006).
[ 71 ] MTVA Comments at 17.
[ 72 ] For example, while A/74 does not require any specific number of field ensembles to be successfully demodulated, the Joint Industry Comments recommended that a converter box successfully demodulate 30 of the 50 field ensembles included in A/74. Joint Industry Comments at Appendix 4. Rhodes recommends that “tests of ACI [adjacent channel interference] should be carried out over the full range of D [desired] signal powers that will exist within the coverage area of the transmitter,” while A/74 only specifies three desired signal power levels. Rhodes Comments at 4. MTVA stated that multiple interfering signal tests are important but said that reasonable interference levels are not yet known. MTVA Comments at 15. NAF indicated that in addition to the A/74 guidelines, tests must also include desensitization performance. NAF Comments at 5.
[ 73 ] For example, the MTVA noted that “reasonable interference values are not yet known at this time, but should be investigated (with lab testing) in the near future recognizing current tuner technology.” MTVA Comments at 15. See also Charles Rhodes Comments at 7 (“testing should cover the same desired signal power range as in single Taboo testing above....It is my intention to actually perform these tests in my own laboratory in the next few months”); NAF Comments at 5 (“detailed engineering measurements as to the susceptibility of current DTV receiver designs to interference from out-of-band signals are needed.”).
[ 74 ] “[A]ssuming NTIA adopts final rules by January 1, 2007, manufacturers will have barely 12 months to bring compliant converter boxes to market–less than the typical 18-month manufacturing cycle.” Thompson Comments at 8.
[ 75 ] Joint Industry Comments at 1.
[ 76 ] Id. at 13.
[ 77 ] Letter from Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee at 2 (stating that converter boxes should, at a minimum, replicate the picture and audio quality consumers experience today when watching their analog televisions).
[ 78 ] NPRM, 71 Fed. Reg. at 42,070.
[ 79 ] A standard for smart antenna interfaces is defined by the CEA-909 Antenna Control Interface standard, which is included in the A/74 guidelines, Section 4.2.
[ 80 ] Joint Industry Comments at 17.
[ 81 ] MTVA Comments at 5-6.
[ 82 ] Zoran Comments at 3; but see CERC Comments at 10.
[ 83 ] RadioShack Comments at 20.
[ 84 ] NPRM, 71 Fed. Reg. at 42,069.
[ 85 ] See GAO Challenges Report at 6.
[ 86 ] Funai Comments at 10.
[ 87 ] Funai 2nd Comments at 1-2.
[ 88 ] See Section 3005(d) of the Act.
[ 89 ] MTVA Comments at 5.
[ 90 ] CBA Comments at 6. Richard Brittain also noted that older sets still have 300-ohm ribbon leads and screw terminals instead of Type F connectors. See Richard Brittain Comments.
[ 91 ] National Translator Association Comments at 1.
[ 92 ] CBA Comments at 3.
[ 93 ] Island Broadcasting Comments at 2. Similar comments were filed by the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), which recommended “that NTIA allow eligible converter boxes to contain a built-in and easily workable A/B switch.” APTS Comments at 30. Richard Brittain recommended a pass through of analog signals if the box is turned off. See Brittain Comments.
[ 94 ] Funai, 2nd Comments at 2 (Nov. 17, 2002).
[ 95 ] RadioShack Comments at 19.
[ 96 ] THAT Corp. Comments at 8-9.
[ 97 ] For example, Zoran, Brittain, and Diaz recommended that NTIA permit S-video as an output. See Zoran Comments at 1; Richard Brittain Comments; Diaz Comments at 1.
[ 98 ] Funai Comments at 11.
[ 99 ] Id. at 11-12.
[ 100 ] Id.
[ 101 ] NPRM, 71 Fed. Reg. at 42,069-70.
[ 102 ] See Section 3005(d) of the Act.
[ 103 ] Id.
[ 104 ] NPRM, 71 Fed. Reg. at 42,070.
[ 105 ] THAT Corp. at 13. “BTSC” derives from the Broadcast Television Systems Committee, an industry group convened in the late 1970s that, primarily, added additional audio channels to NTSC, allowing stereo (left and right) audio and a second audio program (SAP) channel to be broadcast. In 1984, the FCC developed rules and specified a pilot tone for BTSC. See Second Report and Order, Docket No. 21323, Rad. Reg. 2d (P&F) 1642 (1984). See Multichannel Television Sound Transmission and Audio Processing Requirements for the BTSC System in OET Bulletin No. 60, Revision A( Feb. 1986).
[ 106 ] Combined Comments of NCAM, American Association of People with Disabilities, and Information Technology and Accessible Interface Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, Trace Center-University of Wisconsin-Madison Comments at 2 (hereafter NCAM Comments). The secondary audio program channel is provided under the BTSC standard and the FCC does not require nor restrict the use of the SAP channel.
[ 107 ] See Motion Picture Ass’n of Am. v. FCC, 309 F.3d 796 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (holding that the FCC did not have statutory authority to issue video description regulations).
[ 108 ] Congress enacted this coupon program “[t]o help consumers who wish to continue receiving broadcast programming over the air using analog-only televisions.” H.R. Rep. No. 109-362, at 201 (2005) (Conf. Rep). Consistent with that guidance, NTIA encourages manufacturers to incorporate features that enhance accessibility.
[ 109 ] Audio standards for digital television are contained in ATSC A/52, Digital Audio Compression Standard, (AC-3); ATSC A/53, and ATSC Digital Television Standard; guidelines for implementation of ATSC audio are contained in ATSC A/54, Recommended Practice: Guide to the Use of the ATSC Digital Television Standard.
[ 110 ] Funai Comments at 7.
[ 111 ] See Section 3005(d) of the Act (emphasis added).
[ 112 ] NPRM, 71 Fed. Reg. at 42,070.
[ 113 ] The FCC’s Closed Captioning receiver requirements are contained in 47 C.F.R. § 15.122 and incorporate the CEA 708 standard “Digital Television (DTV) Closed Captioning” which was developed from the CEA 608 standard. The FCC’s Parental Control (V-Chip) receiver requirements are contained in 47 C.F.R. § 15.120 and incorporate the EIA/CEA-766-A standard. “U.S. and Canadian Region Rating Tables (RRT) and Content Advisory Descriptors for Transport of Content Advisory Information using ATSC A/65-A Program and System Information Protocol (PSIP).” FCC requirements for Closed Captioning and Parental controls were noted by Thomson, Funai and Brittain. Thomson Comments at 3; Funai Comments at 7; Richard Brittain Comments at 5.
[ 114 ] Funai, Thomson and Richard Brittain noted that there were no FCC rules regarding EAS applicable to television receivers. Funai Comments at 7; Thomson Comments at 3; Richard Brittain Comments at 5.
[ 115 ] In the Matter of Review of the Emergency Alert System, First Report an Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 05-191, November 3, 2005.
[ 116 ] 47 C.F.R. Part 11.
[ 117 ] 47 C.F.R. §§ 15.120, 15.122.
[ 118 ] 47 C.F.R. § 15.177(b).
[ 119 ] CBA Comments at 6; see also MTVA Comments at 11; Joint Industry Comments at Appendix 1.
[ 120 ] Richard Brittain Comments at 5.
[ 121 ] NCAM Comments at 3. NCAM also suggested the inclusion of a “talking menu” which can read out the functions that are highlighted on an on-screen menu. Id.
[ 122 ] See 29 U.S.C. § 794d.
[ 123 ] Joint Industry Comments at 16-17; see also 47 C.F.R. § 73.682.
[ 124 ] LG Comments at 7.
[ 125 ] CERC Comments at 10.
[ 126 ] Gemstar Comments at 6-8.
[ 127 ] RadioShack Comments at 20.
[ 128 ] Letter from Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee at 2 (CECBs should have the capability to be updated, modified, or repaired in circumstances where problems arise).
[ 129 ] Update Logic Comments at 1.
[ 130 ] CBA Comments at 6-7.
[ 131 ] NCAM Comments at 4-5.
[ 132 ] NAF Comments at 7; NCWO Comments at 1.
[ 133 ] National Datacast Comments at 1.
[ 134 ] Field tests were completed of the “UpdateTV” technology in July 2006 and the service is expected to be commercially available in 2007. Update Logic Comments at 5.
[ 135 ] NPRM, 71 Fed. Reg. at 42,070.
[ 136 ] Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Comments at 4; American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Comments at 1; Letter from Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee at 2.
[ 137 ] ACEEE Comments at 1.
[ 138 ] EPA Comments at 2.
[ 139 ] Letter of CERC, The Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc., National Association of Broadcasters, and Natural Resources Defense Council to Honorable John M.R. Kneuer, (Joint Industry Energy Comments) (Oct. 25, 2006).
[ 140 ] This measurement is in accordance with industry standard, CEA 2013-A.
[ 141 ] Joint Industry Energy Comments at 4.
[ 142 ] Walmart Comments at 2; see also NRDC Comments at 4; ACEEE Comments at 1.
[ 143 ] CEA Standard 2013, Digital STB Background Power Consumption.
[ 144 ] See EPA Comments at 2; ACEEE Comments at 1.
[ 145 ] Walmart Comments at 2.
[ 146 ] The EPA ENERGY STAR specifications are available on the Internet at http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/product_specs/eligibility/dtas_elig.pdf.
[ 147 ] Joint Industry Energy Comments at 20; LG Comments at 11; Walmart Comments at 2; CERC Comments at 11; APTS Comments at 30.
[ 148 ] Motorola Comments at 3.
[ 149 ] LG Comments at 11-12; Thomson Comments at 6.
[ 150 ] KTech Comments at 4.
[ 151 ] See Richard Brittain Comments.
[ 152 ] KTech Comments at 4.
[ 153 ] Advanced Television Standard Committee, Standard A/74, section 4.7 “Consumer Interface—Received Signal Quality Indicator.”
[ 154 ] Richard Brittain Comments.