CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958422 LTO
Mr. John C. Dibble
DeKieffer Dibble & Horgan
915 Fifteenth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
RE: Low-Noise Block (LNB) Down Converter; PC 804277 affirmed; HQs 088255, 087724, 952791, 953369, 955309; EN 85.25; subheading 8529.10.20; section XVI, note 2(a)
Dear Mr. Dibble:
This is in response to your letter of September 11, 1995, requesting, on behalf of Thomson Consumer Electronics, Inc. ("Thomson"), reconsideration of PC 804277, issued to Thomson on December 14, 1994, by Customs in El Paso, Texas. PC 804277 concerned the classification of a low-noise block down converter under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).
The low-noise block ("LNB") down converter is a specially designed component of the antenna assembly for the RCA Digital Satellite System (DSS), an alternative to commercial cable television. The DSS utilizes television signals broadcast from stationary-orbit satellites. These signals are received by the antenna assembly, which consists of an 18 inch x 20 inch parabolic reflector and the LNB. Because of its small size, the antenna assembly can be mounted on residential rooftops or window sills. The antenna assembly is connected by standard 75 coaxial cable to an Integrated Receiver-Decoder ("IRD") located adjacent to the user's television. The IRD is capable of restoring the compressed satellite signal so that it can be viewed on a standard television receiver. - 2 -
The LNB is mounted at the focal point of the parabolic reflector. The parabolic
reflector focuses the satellite signal onto the transducer, which is located within the LNB. The LNB receives the signal in the 12.2-12.7 GHz range. This signal, because of its frequency, cannot be sent over standard coaxial cable to the IRD box located at the user's television receiver. The LNB, therefore, converts the signal into a 950-1450 MHZ signal, which can be easily sent over standard 75 coaxial cable used for distribution of television signals in private residences.
The LNB is specially designed for use with its parabolic reflector and other components of the DSS system. It is not compatible with any other satellite receiving equipment, and can only be used for receiving television transmissions relayed by satellite.
Thomson imports two different models, part BSCH84P00, a single-output model, and part BSCH84P50, a dual-output model (which provides an additional connection for attachment of a second IRD). In PC 804277, the LNBs were classified under subheading 8525.10.20, HTSUS, which provides for television transmission apparatus.
Whether the LNB is classifiable as television transmission apparatus under heading 8525, HTSUS, or as a part suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528, HTSUS, under heading 8529, HTSUS.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
The headings under consideration are as follows:
8525 Transmission apparatus for . . . television, whether or not
incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or
reproducing apparatus - 3 -
8529 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus
of headings 8525 to 8528
Note 2 to section XVI, HTSUS, governs the classification of parts within chapters 84 and 85, HTSUS. Note 2(a) provides, in pertinent part, that "parts of machines (not being parts of the articles of heading 8484, 8544, 8545, 8546 or 8547) are to be classified according to the following rules: (a) [p]arts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapters 84 and 85 (other than headings 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8485, 8503, 8522, 8529, 8538 and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings (emphasis added)." Thus, if the LNBs are classifiable as television transmission apparatus under heading 8525, HTSUS, they cannot be classified, as parts, under heading 8529, HTSUS.
EN 85.25, pgs. 1374, states that the television transmission apparatus of heading 8525, HTSUS, "falls here whether the transmission is by electro-magnetic waves or by line." Television transmission apparatus of heading 8525, HTSUS, includes: "(1) [t]ransmitters of all kinds; (2) [r]elay apparatus used to pick up a broadcast and retransmit it and so increase the range (including television relay apparatus for mounting in aircraft); (3) [r]elay television transmitters for transmission, by means of an aerial and parabolic reflector, from the studio or site of an outside broadcast to the main transmitter; and (4) [t]elevision transmitters for industrial use (e.g., for reading instruments at a distance, or for observation in dangerous localities). With this apparatus the transmission is often by line." See EN 85.25, pgs. 1374-1375.
Customs has previously held that the DSS's IRD is classifiable as television transmission apparatus under subheading 8525.10.20, HTSUS. See HQ 955309, which was issued to Thomson on December 21, 1993. In HQ 088255, dated December 17, 1990, we reasoned that:
The IRD is in the transmission path, but 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.
For other rulings on similar merchandise, see HQ 955369, dated February 10, 1993; HQ 952791, dated February 8, 1993; and HQ 087724, dated April 2, 1991.
The LNB, like the DSS's IRD, lies in the transmission path. The LNB receives the signals broadcast from the satellite and converts them to a lower frequency. The - 4 -
output of the LNB is relayed or " fed to the set-top IRD, which decodes the transmission and feeds it to a TV or monitor (emphasis added)," for final reception and display. Thus, the LNB, like the IRD, is classifiable, according to GRI 1, as television transmission apparatus under subheading 8525.10.20, HTSUS. PC 804277 is therefore affirmed.
The low-noise-block down converter is classifiable under subheading 8525.10.20, HTSUS, which provides for television transmission apparatus. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 2.9% ad valorem.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
PC 804277, dated December 14, 1994, is affirmed.
John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals Division