[CES] EchoStar Announces 'Free' Digital-to-analog Converter
EchoStar Satellite LLC of the US announced the "TR-40," a device that converts digital TV signals into analog signals, at a presentation on the opening day of the 2008 International CES.
In the US, analog terrestrial broadcasts are slated for termination Feb 17, 2009. EchoStar's terminal is a device that enables analog TVs to receive digital terrestrial broadcasts.
The TR-40 will be launched at US$39.99 in March 2008. The US government started a program to support the purchase of digital-to-analog converters targeting households across the nation Jan 1, 2008. Through this program, the US government offers US$40 per unit up to 2 units per household. Using this program, the TR-40 is virtually free.
"We are not thinking about earning a profit from this device," said EchoStar's Chief Executive Officer Charles Ergen. "We will, however, benefit from the vacancies in frequencies that will be generated due to the termination of analog broadcasts."
EchoStar announced the "TR-50" digital-to-analog converter with HDD recording capability at the same time. The TR-50 will be released in July 2008. Along with an HDD recorder, the converter features capability to receive HDTV and SDTV signals as well. Under the US government's regulation, however, the aforementioned support program cannot be applied to purchasing of the device, the company said. Pricing for the TR-50 has not been determined.