Converter box preview: Nice work, LG

June 7th, 2007

A preview of converter boxes yesterday suggests, to me anyway, that manufacturers are confident the boxes will perform.

To explain my reasoning (i.e., my wild speculations), let me just observe that the demonstration, sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), took place in New York. If you can make it there—well, let’s just leave Frank and Liza out of this, shall we? But my point is, Manhattan is known as a difficult signal-reception environment for digital TV. Unveiling your digital TV adapter there is a confident gesture. Then again, you might not get a New York Times reporter to show up in the flatlands of Kansas. A DTV converter demo in a farm field would have been an ominous sign for the future of over-the-air broadcasting.

For LG, which (along with Thomson) built NAB and MSTV-commissioned prototypes, this was a successful audition:

On one side was a television receiving a traditional over-the-air signal from a local Fox affiliate, its picture grainy and chattering with static. Next to it was a television tuned to the same station, this one with its antennas connected to the converter prototype made by LG, which was not much bigger than a cigar box.

The image on its screen was as clear as if being sourced from a DVD player.

Two caveats:

1) A prototype is not a retail product.

2) If you’re like me, you really want to know how it did on every channel. Heaven help any digital-to-analog converter box maker who can’t tune in a single channel.

But from what we’ve heard thus far, I would say it’s an auspicious beginning.

Converter boxes? We’re still waiting…
RCA converter box announced at CES
LG digital converter box due in 2008

• Link: New York Times

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