Starting last April, the FCC required retailers to post warning labels on any TVs that have only analog tuners. In preparation for the cut-off of analog terrestrial broadcast — “over the air” channels — on February 17, 2009, the FCC requires that all devices that have television tuners must have a digital tuner. Manufacturers are permitted to sell any existing stock of analog-only tuner TVs, but must include a warning label.
The FCC has cracked down on this requirement, issuing 250 citations to various retailers. The agency has threatened to impose fines if the violations continue.
Consumer confusion continues about the analog broadcast cut-off. The only people who will be affected are those who rely on over-the-air broadcasts; satellite and cable services do not rely on the television set’s tuner, and the cut-off will not have any impact on those installations. The digital broadcasts do not require an HDTV; most of the programming is still in standard definition format, and will work on any set with a digital tuner. If you do want to view the free HD content available from over-the-air broadcasts, you do need to have an HDTV with a digital tuner.