Small and indie TV stations protesting FCC bid to end analog viewability rule

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A group of more than 200 TV stations is protesting the FCC’s proposal to end the viewability rule in December 2013, reports Multichannel News.

In September 2007, in anticipation of the digital transition, the FCC decided that cable operators would be required to convert digital signals to analog so must-carry channels could still be viewed by households with analog television sets. The FCC now wants to sunset that requirement, citing the availability of free or low-cost converter boxes.

But Independent Voices for Local Television, representing smaller and independent TV stations, say that 12.6 million households of more than 34 million viewers don’t have any digital TV sets. “Many millions more have analog sets in their bedrooms, even if they have one digital set in the living room,” the group says on its website. “If the FCC shifts the burden to consumers, these cable viewers will lose access unless they lease new equipment.”

“Voices for Local TV will have to talk fast,” Multichannel News notes: The FCC’s proposed order needs to be voted on by June 12 or the rule sunsets immediately.

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