The paper analyzes the error propagation phenomenon in the decision feedback equalizer (DFE) for the receivers of Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) digital television (DTV) and presents the performance upper-limits of the DFE by comparing various error propagation cases and the no-error propagation case. As one approach to the performance limit, we consider a blind DFE, adopting a trellis decoder with a trace-back depth of 1 as a decision device. Through simulation, we show how much the DFE performance in ATSC DTV receivers is affected by error propagation. We found that while blind equalization is preferable to decision-directed (DD) equalization at signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) values less than 18 dB, DD equalization is superior to blind equalization at SNR values greater than 18 dB. In addition, symbol error rate curves quantitatively show that the performance difference in the DFE caused by error propagation becomes clearer at the trellis decoder following the DFE. The analysis results presented are very informative for developing equalization algorithms for ATSC DTV receivers.