Retailers Reprimanded for Selling Incompatible TVs

April 14, 2008 11:05 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Major retailers get in trouble with the government for selling televisions that won’t work when broadcasting goes digital next year.

30-Second Summary

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Sears Holding Corp., Target Corp. and eight other retailers were fined for violating FCC rules intended to prevent consumers from buying televisions that will be unable to receive signals when broadcasters switch to digital on February 17, 2009.

In preparation for the changeover to digital broadcasting, the Federal Communications Commission’s current rules state that retailers must have a label on or near television sets that cannot receive a digital signal without a converter box.

The change won’t affect most viewers. Those with cable or satellite service are safe. But those who use rabbit ears to tune their sets may be out of luck. Nielsen Media Research estimates more than 13 million homes receive service exclusively through an antenna.

The change will leave some viewers “in the dark,” reports The Washington Post. “The digital conversion presents a huge logistical and technical hurdle for the communities whose dependence on rabbit-ear-style analog TVs are high, but whose understanding of how to manage the change is low.”

Headline Link: ‘FCC Fines Major Retailers Over TV Transition Rules’

Background: Best Buy CEO ‘nervous’ about switch

Related Topic: What happens to viewers with outmoded sets?

Reference: DTV


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