This standard defines an Emergency Alert signaling method for use by cable TV systems in the United States to signal emergencies to digital receiving devices that are offered for retail sale. Such devices include digital set‐top boxes that are sold to consumers at retail, digital TV receivers, and digital video recorders.
The Emergency Alert signaling (EAS) scheme defined in this standard allows a cable operator to disseminate emergency alert information related to state and local‐level emergencies and warnings in an efficient way, while minimizing disruption to programming. While it is possible for a cable operator to comply with EAS requirements by simply replacing the source signal for all programs with an emergency information channel, such switching is disruptive to viewing, is overly intrusive for many kinds of local warnings and is overly‐complex for the cable operator to implement in a digital cable environment where each transport stream may carry many programs that would have to be individually interrupted. Based on the priority level of the alert, the Emergency Alert message may instruct the receiving device to force‐tune to a designated emergency broadcast channel.