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Federal regulators have fined several retailers, including Wal-Mart and Circuit City, for selling old-fashioned analog televisions and not warning customers that they're going to need an upgrade. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
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SCOTT HORSLEY: At a Sears store in San Diego, Matt Damon fights his way across a wall of big-screen televisions.
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Mr. MATT DAMON (Actor): (As character) Open that. Open that. Tell me what's inside.
HORSLEY: Inside these TVs are digital tuners, all set for the big conversion next February, when TV stations stop broadcasting analog signals.
Since March of last year, the FCC has required new TVs to include digital tuners. Retailers can keep selling the old analog sets they have in stock, but they're supposed to attach a sticker, warning customers that soon those analog TVs won't be able to receive over-the-air signals without a converter box.
Yesterday, the FCC fined seven retail chains for selling analog TVs without the warning labels. Sears, which drew the biggest fine, of more than $1 million, said it was surprised and that it no longer carries analog sets.
Best Buy also said it was disappointed at being fined for what it called a small number of instances. And Target spokesman Joshua Thomas says his chain provides in-store brochures and staff training to make sure customers know what's coming.
Mr. JOSHUA THOMAS (Spokesman, Target): We remain committed to assisting our guests as we prepare for the transition. We'll review the findings of the FCC and take the appropriate action.
HORSLEY: The FCC also sanctioned two other companies for making or importing TVs without the required digital tuners.
Scott Horsley, NPR News, San Diego.
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