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FCC Levies Fines on Retailers, DTV-Equipment Suppliers

As promised, the Federal Communications Commission levied more than $6 million in fines on retailers and equipment companies for violating its rules on digital-TV-set labeling, prohibitions on shipping sets with analog-only tuners and requirements that new TVs work with the V-chip/ratings system.

There were some big names among the companies cited, including Sears, Roebuck; Wal-Mart; Circuit City; Best Buy; and Target.

Penalized for not labeling sets already on the shelves that had analog-only tuners were: Sears ($1,096,000), Circuit City ($712,000), Fry's Electronics ($384,000), Target ($296,000), Best Buy ($280,000) and CompUSA ($168,000).

Hit with fines for importing sets with analog-only tuners were Syntax-Brillian ($1,266,100) and Precor ($357,900),.

Cited for DTV sets that did not work sufficiently well with the V-chip/ratings system were Polaroid ($775,000) and Proview Technology ($300,000).

The FCC also reached consent decrees with Digital TV manufacturers totalling $3.4 million over an investigation into whether their DTV's could adapt to changes in the V-chip/ratings system.