View all text of Subpart G [§ 74.701 - § 74.799]

§ 74.790 - Permissible service of TV translator and LPTV stations.

Link to an amendment published at 88 FR 30670, May 12, 2023.

(a) TV translator stations provide a means whereby the signals of broadcast stations may be retransmitted to areas in which direct reception of such stations is unsatisfactory due to distance or intervening terrain barriers.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, a TV translator station may be used only to receive the signals of a TV broadcast station, another TV translator station, a TV translator relay station, a television intercity relay station, a television STL station, or other suitable sources such as a CARS or common carrier microwave station, for the simultaneous retransmission of the programs and signals of a TV broadcast station. Such retransmissions may be accomplished by any of the following means:

(1) Reception of TV broadcast station programs and signals directly through space and conversion to a different channel by one of the following transmission modes:

(i) Heterodyne frequency conversion and suitable amplification, subject to a digital output power limit of 30 watts for transmitters operating on channels 14–69 and 3 watts for transmitters operating on channels 2–13; or

(ii) Digital signal regeneration (i.e., signal demodulation, decoding, error processing, encoding, remodulation, and frequency upconversion) and suitable amplification; or,

(2) Demodulation, remodulation, and amplification of TV broadcast station programs and signals received through a microwave transport.

(c) The transmissions of each TV translator station shall be intended for direct reception by the general public, and any other use shall be incidental thereto. A TV translator station shall not be operated solely for the purpose of relaying signals to one or more fixed receiving points for retransmission, distribution, or further relaying.

(d) Except as provided in paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section, the technical characteristics of the retransmitted signals shall not be deliberately altered so as to hinder reception on consumer TV broadcast receiving equipment.

(e) A TV translator station shall not retransmit the programs and signals of any TV broadcast station(s) without the prior written consent of such station(s). A TV translator may multiplex on its output channel the video program services of two or more TV broadcast stations, pursuant to arrangements with all affected stations, and for this limited purpose, is permitted to alter a TV broadcast signal.

(f) A TV translator station may transmit locally originated visual and/or aural messages limited to emergency warnings of imminent danger, to local public service announcements (PSAs) and to seeking or acknowledging financial support deemed necessary to the continued operation of the station. Acknowledgments of financial support may include identification of the contributors, the size and nature of the contribution and the advertising messages of the contributors. The originations concerning financial support and PSAs are limited to 30 seconds each, no more than once per hour. Emergency transmissions shall be no longer or more frequent than necessary to protect life and property. Such originations may be accomplished by any technical means agreed upon between the TV translator and TV station whose signal is being retransmitted, but must be capable of being received on consumer TV broadcast reception equipment.

(g) An LPTV station may operate under the following modes of service:

(1) For the retransmission of programming of a TV broadcast station, subject to the prior written consent of the station whose signal is being retransmitted.

(2) For the origination of programming and commercial matter as defined in § 74.701(l).

(3) Whenever operating, an LPTV station must transmit at least one over-the-air video program signal at no direct charge to viewers at least comparable in resolution to that of its associated analog (NTSC) LPTV station or, in the case of an on-channel digital conversion, that of its former analog LPTV station.

(4) An LPTV station may dynamically alter the bit stream of its signal to transmit one or more video program services in any established DTV video format.

(h) An LPTV station is not subject to minimum required hours of operation and may operate in either of the two modes described in paragraph (g) of this section for any number of hours.

(i) Upon transmitting a signal that meets the requirements of paragraph (g)(3) of this section, an LPTV station may offer services of any nature, consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity, on an ancillary or supplementary basis in accordance with the provisions of § 73.624(c) and (g) of this chapter.

(j) An LPTV station may not be operated solely for the purpose of relaying signals to one or more fixed receiving points for retransmission, distribution or relaying.

(k) An LPTV station may receive input signals for transmission or retransmission by any technical means, including those specified in paragraph (b) of this section.

(l) As necessary, a TV translator shall modify, to avoid TV reception tuning conflicts with other stations, the Program System and Information Protocol (PSIP) information in the TV broadcast signal being retransmitted.

(m) Low power television and TV translator stations may no longer operate any facility in analog (NTSC) mode.

[69 FR 69334, Nov. 29, 2004, as amended at 87 FR 58205, Sept. 23, 2022]