Box battle goes to court


The Community Broadcasters Association is headed to the DC Circuit Court to press its case that all digital-to-analog converter boxes should include an analog pass-through so the low power and translator stations that will not be broadcasting in digital on 2/17/09 will still be available to their over-the-air viewers. Most boxes do not include this feature.

CBA’s Ron Bruno contended before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet in February that the very survival of his members was at stake, and threatened court action if the pass-through feature was not made a requirement for approved boxes. Other witnesses, however, said that the pass-through was not necessary everywhere, and government mandates should be restricted to assuring a supply of such boxes only where they are needed, while encouraging retails to keep at least one such model in stock.

The NAB came out in support of a pass-through in early February, but has also expressed its wish that CBA would take a more moderate approach to the problem.