Keynotes from Congressman Rick Boucher and NTIA Administrator Baker Address DTV Converter Box Coupon Program
The upcoming transition to digital television (DTV) and the DTV converter box coupon program were the key topics during the final day of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Washington Forum. A two-day event focused on technology policy and business issues, the CEA Washington Forum concluded yesterday at the JW Marriot in Washington, DC.
Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) delivered Thursday morning’s opening keynote, focused on the upcoming DTV transition. Boucher praised the benefits consumers will reap from the transition to digital and addressed the challenges facing the switch. “The public is going to receive tremendous benefits,” he said, citing better pictures, more program choices and free spectrum available for first responders among others. Congressman Boucher noted challenges facing the transition, including the need for technical assistance to help less tech-savvy consumers install their converter boxes. He expressed his gratitude to the consumer electronics, broadcast and cable industries’ educational efforts to reach American consumers. Congressman Boucher concluded by calling the passage of legislation that will put the DTV transition into effect a major accomplishment, and noted his commitment to its success.
The first panel session of the day, “Goodbye Analog, Hello HDTV,” moderated by CEA Senior Vice President, Industry Affairs, Jason Oxman, reviewed the tireless work done by government and industry partners to educate consumers about the approaching DTV transition. The session kicked off with a video that showcased a historic perspective of TV technology and also walked viewers down memory lane with some of the most poignant moments witnessed via television. Oxman opened by announcing CEA’s new Convert Your Mom Mother’s Day consumer education campaign as an addition to CEA’s current battery of consumer education activities. Tony Wilhelm, responsible for getting the word out about the National Telecommunications & Information Administration’s (NTIA) coupon program, echoed encouragement about the success of the transition. The FCC’s Monica Desai, outlined their successful trilateral approach to the transition as: regulation, enforcement and consumer education. The panel rounded out with top execs from the broadcast and cable associations outlining the wealth of resources, on-air spots and consumer outreach activities they have successfully coordinated.
Meredith Baker, Acting Administrator for NTIA, delivered Thursday’s luncheon keynote at CEA’s Washington Forum. Baker began her remarks by commending CEA’s efforts in the DTV transition. She lauded the historic public-private partnership that the government and technology industry has formed to educate citizens about the DTV transition and the DTV converter box coupon program. “Over the air consumers will have many choices after February 17, 2009,” she noted. Baker described alliances and programs that are forming to spread the word to citizens who will be affected by the transition, including initiatives at NTIA, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as interest groups such as NAACP and AARP.
Panelists of the afternoon session, “Analog TVs and Recycling,” addressed recent speculation that there will be an increase in analog TVs entering the waste stream following the DTV transition on February 17, 2009. Tim Herbert, CEA’s senior director of market research, shared the results of a new consumer research study demonstrating that analog-only households expect to remove fewer than 15 million TVs from homes through 2010, 95 percent of which will either be sold, donated or recycled. Moderated by Brian Taylor, editor-in-chief of Recycling Today, panelists Mark Sharp of Panasonic and Douglas Smith of Sony discussed consumer behavior and what the industry is doing to educate consumers on the importance of recycling TVs. “There is recognition of the growing importance of electronics recycling and the response from manufacturing is already well underway,” noted Sharp.
Thursday’s Washington Forum also hosted a roundtable session, “How Can the Industry Respond to the Challenges of HDMI?” which brought together a group of industry experts to discuss and debate the challenges and opportunities of HDMI for the consumer electronics industry. The panel examined the unique issues related to HDMI and its implementation, including engineering and interoperability challenges and new testing specifications.
For more information on the CEA Washington Forum including photos and news from the event, please visit http://www.CE.org.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $161 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,200 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES – Where Entertainment, Technology and Business Converge. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services.