FCC Gives EchoStar’s ‘AirTV’ a Lift

The FCC has cleared EchoStar to import, market and sell the AirTV, a new device seemingly targeted to cord-cutters that will support over-the-air digital TV signals as well as over-the-top content.

The FCC’s opinion and order, released Dec. 1, found that the AirTV, as well as a new USB-based tuner product from Hauppauge, are “capable of adequately receiving all channels allocated by the Commission to the television broadcast service.”

Though TV broadcast receivers must be capable of receiving both analog and digital broadcast signals until August 31, 2017, the FCC said a waiver of this rule was in order for the EchoStar AirTV and Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD products because they are in the public interest. Neither EchoStar’s or Hauppauge’s waiver request faced opposition. EchoStar’s waiver request filing is located here (PDF).

“As EchoStar and Hauppauge point out, a digital-only device has several advantages over equipment using both analog and digital tuners: the digital-only models involve less design complexity, avoid substantial operating costs that are generally associated with additional hardware and software, and consume less energy,” the FCC noted in the order. “These advantages should result in lower costs, which can be passed on to consumers and also promote a strong, competitive marketplace.”

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