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Boucher: Focus on cable compatibility

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) wants the Federal Communications Commission to make
sure new digital televisions are also compatible with digital cable, as well
as able to receive over-the-air digital-TV signals, he told FCC chairman Michael
Powell in a letter sent Thursday.

Boucher is the latest lawmaker to weigh in on what he wants the FCC to do to
advance the digital-TV transition. He follows Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who
wants the FCC to write rules that would require consumer-electronics
manufacturers to include digital-TV tuners in all new digital-TV sets.

Markey also asked the commission to complete its work to determine what
carriage obligations cable operators have with regard to digital-TV signals and, like
Boucher, he wants the commission to resolve interoperability issues between cable
set-top boxes and digital TVs.

Markey's letter followed one co-signed by Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and John
Dingell (D-Mich.), and another from Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.). Both of those
letters asked the commission to resolve lingering industry disputes over how to
use broadcast-flag technology to copy-protect digital-TV programming.