Prototype converterboxes showcased in New York

Here is an excerpt of a piece that I wrote with John Furrier at PodTech.

Today New York Times reports today that two prototypes of converter boxes for digital TV recently have been showcased. A converter box is needed for those consumers who are using a rooftop antenna or indoor antennas called rabbit ears to receive TV signals to their TV-set. Well known manufacturers LG and Thompson showed the new boxes scheduled to hit the shelf’s early 2008. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) arranged the showcase in New York City.

LG demonstrated a converterbox in September 2005 on Capitol Hill.

Nearly 20 million of the households in the US are directly affected by the transition. But only a fistful is aware of the changes today. Recent surveys made by NAB convey that about 60 percent of the households are not aware of the transition. And only 10 percent of consumers know that it occurs in 2009. Another 15 million homes has analog reception as an alternative in their home together with satellite and/or cable TV.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, NTIA, will issue $ 40 vouchers to consumers who apply for them. The voucher is to be used when consumers buy a converter box. The subsidiary is funded by auctioning of frequencies that today are used for transmitting analog TV signals. The government has in that way set aside some $ 1.5 billion to help consumers to pay for their box. NAB is launching a major public awareness campaign that will reach out to consumers. The campaign itself is worth about $ 100 million according to NAB.

If you want to read more about this event and what other bloggers have written about the news – check John Furriers show at PodTech, and the headline “a box or not a box – that is the question for millions of TV viewers.

Anders Bjers

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