Nothing funny about FCC Funai fine


Manufacturer Funai Corporation was found to have shipped digital television receivers across state lines without requisite V-Chip blocking capability and program rating receptors to allow parents to block reception of desired levels on content. The result: a fine of nearly 7.75M. The units were supposed to be up to spec by 3/15/06 at the latest, and a complaint about the Funai units arrived at the Commission this past July.

In a prior case involving receivers out of compliance with DTV tuner requirements, the FCC said it levied per-unit fines based on a menu in which the per unit fine was hiked in relation to the number of noncompliant units shipped. The 0-1000 unit levy was 50 dollars, and it rose gradually to 250 dollars if over 50K noncompliant units were shipped.

It arrived at a new, much less expensive menu for the Funai case, and declined to break down how the Funai fine total was arrived at due to the company’s request to leave certain proprietary business facts out of the public domain (a request that is still pending). The charges run from 12.50 per unit on the low end as described above, up to 62.50 on the high end. The menu for both infractions is available under the click.

TVBR/RBR observation: The FCC has been busily levying fines on any business it visits selling analog only units without prominent warnings about its imminent decline in usefulness without a digital-to-analog converter box. Now we have this major, seven-figure fine over V-Chip concerns. Does anybody still doubt the FCC’s commitment to pulling off the DTV conversion?