FTC Seeks Additional Comment on Amplifier Rule

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For Release

The Federal Trade Commission on July 9 published two notices in the Federal Register about its rule that covers power output claims for amplifiers used in home entertainment products. As part of its ongoing review of rules and regulations, the FTC published a notice in the Federal Register in April 1997 seeking comment on whether to repeal, modify or expand the Amplifier Rule, which has been in effect since 1974. The rule assists consumers by standardizing the measurement and disclosure of power, distortion and other performance characteristics of amplifiers in stereos and other home entertainment equipment. Since the regulatory reform effort began, the FTC has repealed 27 rules and guides and streamlined or updated several more.

One of the notices published today is a final rule which notes that the Commission has found the rule to be valuable both to consumers and firms and which also makes a non-substantive amendment to clarify that the rule applies to self-powered loudspeakers, such as subwoofer-satellite speaker combinations used with personal computers and home stereo systems.

The second notice -- an advance notice of proposed rulemaking -- seeks comment on whether the Commission should initiate a rulemaking to amend the Amplifier Rule to:

1. Reduce the preconditioning power output requirement from one-third of rated power to a lower figure, such as one-eighth of rated power;

2. Exempt sellers who make power output claims in media advertising from the requirement to disclose total rated harmonic distortion and the associated power bandwidth and impedance ratings; and

3. Clarify the manner in which the rule's testing procedures apply to self-powered subwoofer-satellite combination speaker systems.

The Commission vote to publish the Federal Register notices was 4-0.

Comments on the advance notice of proposed rulemaking will be accepted until September 8, 1998, and should be addressed to: Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, Room H-159, Sixth and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. The comments should be identified as "16 CFR Part 432 -- Comment."

Copies of the full text of the Federal Register notices are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. Consent agreements subject to public comment also are available by calling 202-326-3627. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Michelle Muth
Office of Public Affairs
Staff Contact:
Dennis Murphy
Bureau of Economics
Robert E. Easton
Bureau of Consumer Protection

(FTC File No. P974222)