CEMA Pushes for New Action on Satellite Act

Gary Shapiro is after the US Congress to reconcile House and Senate versions of the Satellite Home Viewer Act (SHVA). Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA), has asked legislators to incorporate provisions of a recent agreement between direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service DirecTV and the National Association of Broadcasters, allowing DBS services to transmit local TV signals—a practice known as local-into-local—as cable companies have always done.

The SHVA was originally enacted back in 1988 to apportion territories to satellite services wishing to relay local signals to rural areas, and carefully define how close they could get to local transmitters. The NAB has long opposed local-into-local because of station owners' misgivings about potential loss of revenue to DBSers—misgivings that the DirecTV-NAB agreement addresses.

CEMA hopes that incorporating these provisions will "help generate a large audience for exciting new products and services, like HDTVs with integrated DBS receivers and digital TV set-top boxes with DBS capability," according to Shapiro. "We strongly believe that resolution of the so-called local-into-local issue, along with the other provisions included in the agreement, will serve as the catalyst to drive DBS system sales along with related video products and accessories."