Electronics biz backs DBS pact

Consumer Assn. urges support of SHVA

WASHINGTON — Consumer electronics makers want Congress to move quickly to pass legislation allowing direct broadcast satellite providers to offer local TV station signals to their customers.

Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Assn., sent a letter to congressional leaders urging “immediate action on and support of” swift reconciliation of House and Senate versions of the Satellite Home Viewer Act reauthorization to include provisions of an agreement between DirecTV Inc. and the National Assn. of Broadcasters under which DBS providers would be able to deliver local signals.

DBS sales spark

“We strongly believe,” Shapiro wrote, “that resolution of the so-called local-into-local issue, along with the other provisions in the agreement, will serve as the catalyst to drive DBS system sales along with related video products and accessories.”

The SHVA, as enacted in 1988, permits sat companies to offer distant network signals to households that can’t receive a local network affiliate over the air. Under the DirecTV-NAB deal, satellite providers would be allowed to supply local channels into local markets and up to two distant affiliate stations of each network to eligible subscribers. In addition, it also would eliminate a 90-day waiting period for cable customers to subscribe to distant network signals via satellite.

“Passage … will help generate a large audience for exciting new products and services like (high-definition TVs) with integrated DBS receivers and digital TV set-top boxes with DBS capability,” Shapiro added.

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