Advanced Television

US digital conversion 'free'

January 9, 2008

Converting to digital in the US could, theoretically be free as EchoStar Communications announced it teamed up with Sling Media to brand a converter box that it said will sell for $39.99. They say it will comply with the National Telecommunications & Information Administration’s specifications for devices that can be covered entirely by the NTIA’s subsidized $40 coupons.

EchoStar said it would also market a higher-end box with digital-video-recorder functionality (DVR boxes do not qualify for the coupons).

Meantime, DISH Network also announced a price-freeze on programming packages. It’s not a permanent freeze, but a guarantee that prices won’t rise on packages until February 2009. The No. 2 satellite TV platform made the announcement at CES, which in addition to programming packages includes no jump in prices for the company’s DishDVR Advantage offering

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