NTIA Approves Philips’ Boxes

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Washington — The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said Wednesday it has just added two set-top digital-to-analog converter boxes from Philips to its list of coupon-eligible tuners.

The two new converter boxes carry the Magnavox and Philco brands, which Philips has used for high-volume mass-oriented products. In recent years, Philco has been used primarily for limited-run truckload promotional items.

A Philips spokesperson said final pricing on the devices have not been set, and product specifications were not immediately available.

According to the NTIA, the following set-top converter boxes have approved for the government-subsidized converter-box coupon program:

The Coupon Program, authorized by the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005, provides for distribution and redemption of coupons that consumers may apply toward the purchase of digital-to-analog converter boxes. Households using analog televisions will not be able to receive digital broadcasts after Feb. 17, 2009, unless the analog television is connected to a converter box that switches the digital signal to an analog format, or the analog television is connected to cable or satellite service, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s NTIA.

Between Jan. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, all U.S. households may request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two digital-to-analog converter boxes until the initial $990 million allocated for the program has been exhausted.

After this initial phase of the program, NTIA may request an additional $510 million already authorized by Congress. During this “contingent period,” coupons will be available exclusively to households that rely on over-the-air broadcasting as their sole source of television programming.


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