Foreign Technology:

Federal Awareness of the Development of High Definition Television

NSIAD-90-140: Published: Mar 21, 1990. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the U.S. government's awareness of the development of high definition television (HDTV).

GAO found that: (1) federal agencies, as well as the private sector, have been aware of HDTV development for several years; (2) private companies collectively spent about $70 million on HDTV research through early 1988; (3) in 1983, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration established a separate directorate for television development, which focused on uses for enhanced television; (4) Congress initiated efforts to adopt a worldwide HDTV production standard, but controversy subsequently led to the postponement of an international standard; and (5) Congress held hearings concerning domestic HDTV standards and frequency allocations, how to ensure U.S. electronics industry participation, and whether HDTV development should be a government-led effort.

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