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HQ 955309

December 21, 1993



TARIFF NO.: 8525.10.20

Ms. Cinda Hermann
Thomson Consumer Electronics, Inc.
600 N. Sherman Drive
P.O. Box 1976
Indianapolis, IN 46206-1976

RE: Integrated Receiver/Decoder Unit; HQ 953369; HQ 088255; HQ 953370; HQ 952791; HQ 087724; 8528.10.60

Dear Ms. Hermann:

This is in response to your letter dated October 18, 1993, concerning the classification of an integrated receiver/decoder unit under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The integrated receiver/decoder (IRD)unit, once entered into the U.S., will be a part of a "Digital Satellite System" (DSS), which is comprised of the subject unit, an 18-inch dish antenna, and an infra-red remote control device. The DSS will allow users to receive cable services, premium channels, pay-per-view movies, sports, and special interest programming.

Signals from the IRD unit can cause the dish antenna to rotate to those positions in which it optimizes its collection of television signals broadcast from satellites in the atmosphere. The receiver transforms these signals into an NTSC (standard television broadcast signal) signal. The NTSC signal is then transmitted to a television (TV) receiver, either as RF signals which may be received on Channel 3 or 4 of a standard TV set.

Once the user of the IRD unit programs it with the required information, the user can change channels on a TV or VCR merely by pressing a few buttons on a corresponding wireless remote control unit. The receiver responds by positioning the satellite dish accordingly, processing the signal from the antenna, and relaying it to the TV or VCR receiver to which it is connected for further processing.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8528.10.60: [t]elevision receivers . . . whether or not incorporating radiobroadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus: [c]olor: [o]ther television receivers.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 5 percent ad valorem.

8525.10.20: [t]ransmission apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy, radiobroadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording apparatus . . . : [t]ransmission apparatus: [t]elevision.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 3.7 percent ad valorem.


Whether the IRD unit is classifiable under subheading 8528.10.60, HTSUS, as a television receiver, or under subheading 8525.10.20, HTSUS, as a television transmission apparatus.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

In HQ 953369, dated February 10, 1993, we dealt with the classification of a similar IRD unit under the HTSUS. In that ruling, we quoted from HQ 088255, dated December 17, 1990, wherein we stated that:

[t]he IRD is in the transmission path, but it is not at the end of the transmission path where final reception and viewing takes place. Its function is to receive and decode a scrambled signal that is subsequently transmitted or relayed, in the form of a NTSC signal, to be received and displayed at the end of the transmission path. Therefore, the IRD cannot be considered a "television receiver", as provided for under heading 8528, HTSUS.

In HQ 088255 and HQ 953369, because the subject IRD unit operated as a transmission apparatus, we held that it was classifiable under subheading 8525.10.20, HTSUS. Likewise, it is our position that the IRD unit, to be used in the DSS, is classifiable under subheading 8525.10.20, HTSUS. See also HQ 953370, dated February 10, 1993, HQ 952791, dated February 8, 1993, and HQ 087724, dated April 2, 1991, for other rulings on similar goods.


The integrated receiver/decoder unit is classifiable under subheading 8525.10.20, HTSUS, as a television transmission apparatus.


John Durant, Director

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