Satellite operator Dish Network took the opportunity of the Federal Communications Commission's announcement of a market pulling the plug on analog TV to put in a plug for its low-cost converter box.
Dish said it will have its new DTV-to-analog converter boxes (priced at $39.99) available in the Wilmington, N.C., market in time for the planned Sept. 8 date for pulling the plug on analog by the network affiliates there.
Those stations plan to make the transition early to help give the government a sense of what will happen less than six months later, when all full-power TV stations must pull the plug on analog broadcasts.
Dish spokeswoman Francie Bauer said in a statement Thursday that the company applauded the FCC for lining up the test market.
"Dish Network supports advance testing to identify any operational issues and raise consumer awareness of the transition," she said. "Our company will ensure that its DTVPal -- the only NTIA-approved [National Telecommunications and Information Administration] converter box that is priced at less than the government’s $40 coupon -- will be available in the Wilmington area well in advance of the Sept. 8 conversion.”
Dish has said that it could start making the boxes widely available this summer.
Making sure there were enough boxes for Wilmington viewers was one of the concerns expressed by the town's mayor, William Saffo.