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Tauzin wants to talk digital TV

Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has called an all-industry confab on Thursday to discuss how best to speed the transition to digital television.

"It's becoming increasingly clear on Capitol Hill that many broadcasters will not be able to meet their deadlines for conversion," said Ken Johnson, Tauzin spokesman. "So we're bringing together a lot of people, in some cases with different points of view, in hopes of determining what steps need to be taken in the future to facilitate the transition."

House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) also will attend the meeting as well as Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), ranking minority members on the full committee and subcommittee, respectively.

Industry representatives from all sectors plan to attend the gathering, including the National Association of Broadcasters, Motion Picture Association of America, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Association for Local Television Stations, Association of Public Television Stations, Consumer Electronics Association and Association of Maximum Service Television. Also attending will be CBS, Intel Corp., and Wiley, Rein and Fielding co-founder and former FCC Chairman Dick Wiley.

Other meetings looking into how to kickstart the transition also have been going on around town: last week, FCC Cable Services Bureau Chief Ken Ferree held a meeting between his staff and representatives of consumer electronics manufacturers and the cable industry to discuss set-top box interoperability. - Paige Albiniak