20 Years After 1st Hearing, House Subcomm Chairman Focuses on a High-Def, Digital Future
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee, released the following statement today marking the 20th anniversary of the first ever High-Definition Television (HDTV) hearing in Congress.

“On this date 20 years ago, as chairman of the Telecommunications and Finance Subcommittee, I pushed Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to embark on the odyssey toward digital television when I held the first hearing on HDTV. In 1987, the debate among policymakers was about facilitating the transition from traditional TV to high definition analog TV. After spurring the FCC to endorse digital technology instead of analog for the future of broadcasting, the DTV transition is now fully underway.


“Two decades after this milestone, I am no less committed to the digital television (DTV) transition and the evolution of broadcast television. It is time to get the job done, and done correctly. If implemented successfully, transitioning broadcast television to digital service may bring consumers an array of new digital broadcast video services. It also will free up valuable spectrum to enhance public safety communications and provide commercial spectrum that, if allocated and managed properly, will enhance wireless competition and spur new broadband deployment and innovation.


“Unfortunately, the DTV transition picture I see today is fuzzy at best. I fear that far too few consumers know about the February 17, 2009 analog cut-off and the steps they must take to watch free, over-the-air television after that date. If we are going to make sure that millions of Americans don’t see their perfectly functional analog televisions go dark, Congress needs to start getting better reception from the parties who are responsible for making sure this digital transformation is a success.


“Accordingly, the Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee will hold two key hearings on October 17 and 31 to explore efforts by government and industry to ensure that all Americans enjoy the benefits of DTV. I truly hope these hearings can provide ‘high definition’ clarity to the DTV transition so that we can do well by consumers and the country.”


September 25, 2007

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