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Zenith Converter Box Adds Analog Passthrough

LG has just started shipping its first Zenith-brand digital TV converter box with analog passthrough capability to enable residents living in areas with low-power broadcasters to continue receiving both digital and analog TV signals after the government mandated transition date of Feb. 17, 2009.

The company said the Zenith DTT901 digital TV tuner with analog passthrough is now available nationwide at a $59.95 suggested retail, which is the same price as the current Zenith DTT900 model, and like the earlier box, the DTT901 is eligible for $40 coupons from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

“We recognize that many consumers who require a converter box for digital channels also will continue to enjoy low-power analog stations after next February, and including the popular analog passthrough feature provides the means to achieve this important goal,” stated Richard M. Lewis, Zenith senior VP. “Building on our long-time alliance with full-power broadcasters across the nation, we look forward to working with low-power community stations to help educate American consumers about the nation’s transition to digital TV and how to choose the best converter box for their needs.”

Low-power broadcasters, who are not subject to the mandate to end their analog broadcasts on Feb. 17, 2009, including those affiliated with the Community Broadcasters Association (CBA) and the National Translator Association, endorsed the DTT901.

“The CBA is pleased that Zenith digital-to-analog converter boxes are now offered exclusively with the important analog passthrough feature,” stated Greg Herman, CBA technology VP. “We tested the new Zenith DTT901 in April and find it to be a sound solution for the millions of viewers who require the ability to receive analog as well as digital broadcast signals. Zenith has long been a major player in the digital TV transition, and we’re delighted that all new Zenith converter boxes have analog passthrough capability.”

Byron St. Clair, president of the National Translator Association, which represents rebroadcast translators, noted the new Zenith DTT901 has analog TV passthrough among its many useful features, and he said he considers it well-adapted to the needs of the viewers served by some 5,000 translators now providing TV signals to viewers.

“I purchased a Zenith DTT901 at my local electronics store a few days ago, and I’m pleased to report that it works exactly as hoped — tuning in all the new digital TV stations while passing through TV signals detected by an antenna to a TV’s analog tuner when appropriate,” he said. “Our members, who deliver TV signals to rural areas, will eventually switch to digital service, but in many translator-served areas the change to digital will be phased in one channel at a time. So those viewers will absolutely need analog passthrough converter boxes like the Zenith DTT901.”

The DTT901 includes a universal remote control, one-touch closed-captioning control, accessibility to Second Audio Program information, a “what’s on next” program guide button, a signal-strength meter and a sleep timer.

Zenith said the unit “goes beyond the federal Energy Star requirements, drawing only 5 watts when active and less than half a watt while in standby mode.” The unit will also automatically turn off after four hours of inactivity.

In addition to V-Chip parental control, the DTT901 provides digital closed captions, including the capability to choose from multiple fonts, sizes, colors, and backgrounds.

To assist with set up and operation Zenith offers with the unit a connection guide and toll-free consumer support hot-line: (877) 9-ZENITH.