FCC Releases DTV Education Order

On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission released its digital TV transition education order requiring broadcasters, pay-TV services, retailers and consumer electronics manufacturers to promote awareness of the nation's switch to digital television, set for Feb. 17, 2009.

For pay-TV providers like satellite TV and cable, the companies must provide monthly notices about the digital TV transition in customer billing statements, stated the FCC rules.

Broadcasters must provide on-air information to viewers about the transition and comply with one of three alternative sets of rules to best serve their viewers, the FCC said. As part of the efforts, broadcasters must report about their work on a quarterly basis to the commission.

On the equipment side, manufacturers of television receivers and related devices must provide notice to consumers about the transition and the impact on electronics.

"One of the commission's top priorities is to do everything in its power to facilitate a successful DTV transition," said FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. "Ensuring that no Americans are left in the dark after Feb. 17, 2009, is an enormous undertaking. Significantly, it is one which no single entity, public or private, can achieve alone. Rather, it requires the commitment and cooperation of government, industry and consumer groups."