DISH Preps Sale of DVR DTV Box

DTV-to-analog converter box with DVR functionality to be available for pre-order Nov. 19, for sale mid-December.

DISH Network says its new DTV-to-analog converter box with DVR functionality will be available for pre-order starting Nov. 19 and will be sold starting in mid-December.

The DTVPal DVR will be the first converter box in the U.S. with the digital recording function, said the company, which snagged a Best of CES award in the home video category for the device at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The box does not qualify for the government's $40 subsidy because those coupons were reserved for basic, lifeline versions of the converter box, rather than ones with any added functionality.

But DISH is knocking off $50 from the retail price of $299 with a rebate it bills as $10 more than viewers would get if the coupon had applied.

The box records up to 150 hours of standard definition or 30 hours of high-definition programming for analog viewing. The box also passes through an analog signal, so viewers can watch the low-power stations in their area that are not required to switch to digital on Feb. 17, 2009. DISH got a shout-out last week from the low-power lobby, the Community Broadcasters Association, for providing that pass-through function.

The government did not require converter boxes to pass through analog signals, much to the chagrin of low-power stations.