Englewood Cliffs, N.J. — LG Electronics’ digital-to-analog DTV converter box was officially certified for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) converter box program, the company said today.
The converter box, which will receive over-the-air digital ATSC broadcast signals and convert them for use on conventional analog television sets, will be eligible for $40 coupons that the NTIA, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is issuing to qualified consumers threatened with losing television once the transition to digital broadcasting is completed in 2009.
An LG spokesman said the final selling price on the converter box has not been set, but is expected be in the $60 area.
Under the program, qualified U.S. homes will be eligible for up to two $40 coupons for the purchase of certified converter boxes.
Consumers with analog TVs that receive broadcast signals using an antenna can use the converter box to receive the new interference-free digital TV broadcasts. On Feb. 17, 2009, analog TV broadcasting ends in the United States.
“It is an honor for LG Electronics to be the first major company to receive official NTIA certification for digital-to-analog converters,” stated Michael Ahn, LG Electronics North American headquarters president and CEO.
“This product is a very important component of the DTV transition assuring that millions of Americans will continue to receive free-over-the-air TV programming after the digital switch in just 18 months. LG Electronics is proud of its leadership role in the development of digital television technologies generally and the converter box specifically,” he said.
The LG- developed converter model will deliver “DVD-quality digital broadcast images” to older analog TVs. It also will receive newer multicast digital TV stations, giving antenna users increased free program options than existed in analog-only transmissions.
In addition to V-Chip parental control, the box provides advanced digital closed captions, including the capability to choose from multiple type fonts, sizes, colors, backgrounds and more. The remote control includes a “cc” button for easy caption access.
For easy setup and simple navigation, the LG converter will include a user-friendly installation guide, trilingual (English, Spanish and French) on-screen display and a simple electronic program guide.
Other features include an all-format ATSC receiver, flexible 4:3 and 16:9 display formats, PSIP processing, channel 2 through 69 tuning, RF input and RF output, and composite (RCA jacks) video and left-right stereo TV audio outputs.
Designed to operate at less than 8 watts active and 1 watt standby, the certified converter box exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s EnergyStar program requirements for digital-to-analog converters.
LG Electronics has been developing high-performance, low-cost converter technology over the past three years, working in collaboration with the National Association of Broadcasters and the Association of Maximum Service Television to help create a reference model for the industry.
The NTIA certification followed “extensive laboratory tests verifying the performance and features,” LG said. LG said the box was designed to “meet or exceed the NTIA’s requirements for sensitivity/RF dynamic range; phase-noise and burst-noise performance; co-channel, adjacent-channel and taboo-channel rejection; and performance meeting the NTIA field ensemble and single static echo criteria.”
LG said it is now gearing up converter box production to assure retail availability in early 2008 to support the launch of the coupon program.