CEA: Consumers Will Have Access To Convertrers


The Consumer Electronics Association says broadcasters can rest assured that "every interested American" will have access to a range of retail options to obtain a digital-to-analog converter box," but stopped short of saying that would be by January 2008 or that every retail store would stock them.

That came in response to a letter in which NAB David Rehr had asked for those assurances.

CEA President Gary Shapiro wrote Rehr: "I imagine that certain boutique, custom installation and high-end stores may choose not to sell the coupon-eligible boxes, but rest assured any American who wants to purchase a coupon-eligible box will have a wide variety of convenient retail sources."

That may or may not include Best Buy, which in a Hill hearing earlier this year would not commit to carrying the boxes in all stores.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is administering a government-funded program to provide up to two $40 coupons per household toward the purchase of the boxes, which will convert digital signals to analog for analog TV sets not hooked up to cable or satellite.

The coupons will only cover a basic model without additional bells or whistles like a built-in DVR, which is why Shapiro suggests some high-end stores may not carry that basic model.It is scheduled to release further details on the program Aug. 15.