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RCA Gauging Retail Demand For D/A STB

Indianapolis — Thomson’s RCA was among the first manufacturers to announce plans to market a set-top digital-to-analog television converter to participate in the coupon program that was finalized March 12 by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Thomson said the RCA DTA800 is a basic digital-to-analog converter designed to be affordable and to fit within the guidelines of the federal coupon program. The box will also include a few options, including SmartAntenna input capability and the use of on-screen programming information delivered in broadcasts.

Pricing and availability for the DTA800 has not been determined. Thomson said it will base those decisions on retailer feedback and interest in participating in the government program.

“The final rules from the Department of Commerce insure that manufacturers will offer high-quality and energy-efficient digital TV adapters to meet the needs of millions of consumers. We’re very pleased that all households in America will initially qualify to receive up to two $40 coupons to defray the cost of products like our RCA DTA800, which we are now discussing with retailers for consideration in their upcoming assortments,” said Dan Collishaw, Thomson Americas A/V business chief operating officer.

The device will receive terrestrially broadcast digital TV signals and convert them to analog form for display on conventional analog TVs.

Features will include an antenna input, remote control, the ability to receive and display on-screen program information sent by broadcasters, digital parental control options, closed captioning, and a SmartAntenna interface for use with specialty antenna products that optimize reception in hard-to-reach areas.

“We anticipate a market for several million Digital TV Adapters beginning with the availability of Digital TV Adapter coupons in January 2008. The RCA DTA800 will be the ideal resource for consumers who want to keep watching their old TV set — either in the main entertainment room or another room in the home. And now that the final eligibility requirements have been made public, we’re ready to meet the demand from our retail customers,” Collishaw said.