Thomson Slashes $100 Off DTV Set-tops - Twice

Thomson Slashes $100 Off DTV Set-tops

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Indianapolis -- As other companies await clearance from DirecTV to market their digital television set-top decoder boxes, Thomson announced it has slashed $100 off the price of its RCA and ProScan DTV set-top boxes to $549.95.

The price moves were made "primarily to spur sales" at a time just before a number of competitors ship similar products to market, a Thomson spokesperson told TWICE. The cut gives Thomson the lowest price in the market for a DTV set-top tuner that receives both satellite HDTV and off-air terrestrial digital broadcasts.

"We already enjoyed the industry's lowest price for a set-top decoder, and we would like to maintain that advantage heading into the top buying season," the spokesperson said.

The new price point makes the RCA DTC-100 and ProScan PSHD105 even stronger contenders among a field of products expected by the end of the month. Both Thomson units enable television monitors of multiple picture capabilities to receive and display off-air DTV broadcasts, as well as standard- and high-definition programming from DirecTV.

The boxes connect to high-scan monitors through an RGB-via-VGA (15-pin D-sub) connector, but an adapter is now available for $129 to connect televisions with only HD component video inputs.

Currently, only EchoStar and JVC offer HDTV set-top receivers at a lower price. The EchoStar 6000 decoder, which sells under both brands for $499, will receive both standard and high-definition programs from the Dish Network, but an optional $100 off-air DTV receiver module (expected to be available this month) is required for terrestrial digital signals.

Meanwhile, after continual delays, Hughes Network Systems, Mitsubishi, Panasonic and Toshiba are preparing to ship their DirecTV-enabled DTV set-top decoder boxes in the next few weeks.

In related news, DirecTV recently added the East Coast feed of the HBO-HD channel, and EchoStar said it would add a pay-per-view HDTV channel this month. Programming and viewing fees will be announced later.

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