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DIGITAL DEADLINE DRAWS REPLIES

With Friday as the deadline for filing responses to the FCC regarding its recommended standard for digital TV, the Directors Guild of America and others in Hollywood’s creative community issued statements about the technology.

So did broadcasters and TV set makers, who, in opposition to the creatives, registered strong support for the digital TV compromise that was announced late last month.

“By acting now, the Commission will unleash the substantial final investments required to bring the many benefits of this fruitful technology to the American public,” stated comments filed by Zenith Electronics Corp.

No rush to judgment

By contrast, members of the DGA, the American Society of Cinematographers and others who have opposed the plan said Friday they hoped the Federal Communications Commission wouldn’t hastily approve a compromise that doesn’t satisfy demands of creatives. Cinematographers, directors and others originally asked the FCC to require broadcasters to air movies in their native aspect ratios and to reject proposals regarding the 16:9 aspect ratio.

But lawyers repping the Broadcast Caucus noted the proposed agreement deletes any reference to the 16:9 aspect ratio.

MPAA support

The Motion Picture Assn. of America also voiced strong support for the proposed digital TV standard in comments filed at the FCC. “(The) MPAA supports the agreement and believes it represents a reasonable compromise that balances the diverse interests of many parties,” the studio trade group wrote.

ASC vice president Steven Poster said Friday that creatives remain optimistic that “what we’re talking about is in the public interest. We just want to see the best possible system for America and the viewing public.”

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