Media Bureau Seeks Comment on Echostar's Waiver Request
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
Released: July 10, 2013
MEDIA BUREAU ACTION
MEDIA BUREAU SEEKS COMMENT ON ECHOSTAR'S PETITION FOR WAIVER OF
OVER-THE-AIR ANALOG TUNER REQUIREMENTS
MB Docket No. 13-177
Comment Date: July 30, 2013
Reply Comment Date: August 9, 2013
waive Section 15.117(b) of the Commission's rules. Section 15.117(b) states that "TV broadcast
receivers shall be capable of adequately receiving all channels allocated by the Commission to the
television broadcast service."2 EchoStar seeks a waiver of Section 15.117(b) in order to import, market,
and sell two models of the Channel Master K77, a high-definition ("HD"), Internet-enabled, digital video
recorder ("DVR") that does not include an analog broadcast tuner.3
Section 15.117 of the Commission's rules generally ensures that TV broadcast receivers, including
devices such as the Channel Master K77, are capable of receiving all of the channels allocated by the
Commission to the broadcast television service, including channels in both analog and digital formats.4
1 EchoStar Petition at 1 (filed June 21, 2013).
2 47 C.F.R. 15.117(b).
3 EchoStar Petition at 1. EchoStar seeks a waiver for two variants of the K77 device. Model CM-7500GB16 is
Flash memory-based with 16 gigabytes ("GB") of memory, but no internal hard drive. DVR capability can be added
through the attachment of an external USB hard drive. Model CM-7500GB320 includes a 320 GB hard drive.
4 47 C.F.R. 15.117; Dell Inc. and LG Electronics USA, Inc. Request for Waiver of Section 15.117 of the
Commission's Rules, MB Docket No. 10-111, Order, 25 FCC Rcd 9172-73 2 (MB 2010). Section 15.117 stems
from the All Channel Receiver Act of 1962, which grants the Commission the "authority to require that apparatus
designed to receive television pictures broadcast simultaneously with sound be capable of adequately receiving all
frequencies allocated by the Commission to television broadcasting when such apparatus is shipped in interstate
commerce, or is imported from any foreign country into the United States, for sale or resale to the public." All
Channel Receiver Act of 1962, Pub. L. No. 87-529, 76 Stat. 150, codified at 47 U.S.C. 303(s). Many low-power
television, TV translators, and Class A television stations continue to operate in analog mode and are permitted to do
so until September 1, 2015, the date set for the termination of all analog low-power television service and the
completion of the digital transition. See 47 C.F.R. 74.731(l); Amendment of Parts 73 and 74 of the Commission's
Rules to Establish Rules for Digital Low Power Television, Television Translator, and Television Booster Stations
and to Amend Rules for Digital Class A Television Stations, MB Docket No. 03-185, Second Report and Order, 26
FCC Rcd 10732, 10733 2 (2011). Thus, absent a waiver of Section 15.117(b), TV broadcast receivers must be
EchoStar states that the Channel Master K77 models will combine access to broadcast programming with
over-the-top and DVR functionalities, promoting consumer choice in both retail equipment and in
services for households seeking a non-MVPD option for video programming.5 EchoStar maintains that
requiring an analog tuner "would dramatically increase the device's cost, size, and energy consumption
without any countervailing benefits to consumers."6 Further, EchoStar claims that consumers who
purchase the device would still be able to access analog signals through their television tuners.7 We seek
comment on EchoStar's request for waiver of Section 15.117(b) with respect to its Channel Master K77
models.8 We note that, unlike recent similar petitioners, 9 EchoStar did not voluntarily commit to
educating consumers about the functionality of the K77 devices. Accordingly, we seek comment on
whether EchoStar should be required to undertake similar consumer education efforts as a condition of
any potential waiver relief.
This proceeding will be treated as "permit but disclose" for purposes of the Commission's ex
parte rules. See 47 C.F.R. 1.1200, 1.1206. As a result of the permit-but-disclose status of this
proceeding, ex parte presentations will be governed by the procedures set forth in Section 1.1206 of the
Commission's rules applicable to non-restricted proceedings.10
Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419,
interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first
page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing
System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
capable of receiving both analog and digital broadcast channels. See Office of Engineering and Technology
Laboratory Division Knowledge Database (available at
https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/kdb/forms/FTSSearchResultPage.cfm?switch=P&id=42863), Publication Number 218634
(rel. Dec. 17, 2009) (providing guidance that Section 15.117 requires TV broadcast receiver to include both ATSC
and NTSC tuners if it includes either).
5 EchoStar Petition at 4-5.
6 Id. at 3.
7 Id. at 4, 8.
8 A copy of EchoStar's Petition may be obtained from MB Docket No. 13-177 in the Commission's Electronic
Comment Filing System (ECFS).
9 For example, TiVo recently committed to providing the same consumer disclosures and retail point-of-sale
materials for all of its DVR devices that were required by the Commission's 2011 TiVo Waiver Order waiving a
similar set of rules for its Premier Elite DVR. See TiVo Inc. Petition for Waiver of Sections 15.117(b), 15.118(b),
15.123(b)(1), 15.123(c), and 15.123(d) of the Commission's Rules, at 12 (filed Feb. 4, 2013); TiVo, Inc. Request for
Waiver of Sections 15.118(b), 15.123(b)(1), and 15.123(c) of the Commission's Rules, MB Docket 11-105,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 12743, App. A (MB 2011) ("2011 TiVo Waiver Order").
Specifically, the 2011 TiVo Waiver Order required TiVo to inform consumers that its Premiere Elite DVR could not
receive analog programming and make disclosures on the in-store product information, information booklets, and
the Quick Start Guide. 2011 TiVo Waiver Order, App. A. Similarly, Samsung committed to a "labeling, marketing,
and retail education program that informs consumers and retailers about the capabilities and limitations" of its
device. Samsung Electronics America, Inc. Petition for Waiver of Section 15.118(b) of the Commission's Rules, at
5-6 (filed May 21, 2013).
10 47 C.F.R. 1.1206.
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