Fed Issues D-to-A Converter Box Alert

May 23, 2008
The federal agency subsidizing consumer gear for the digital transition issued an alert this week regarding a device that was purported to be certified, but wasn“t.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said that only one of two devices from a company called “Microprose Systems” was eligible for the federal subsidy program. The NTIA said a May 20 press release from the Community Broadcasters Association indicated a model with analog pass-through capability was certified, and therefore eligible for the fed“s $40-off coupon, when it was not.

The CBA has challenged the subsidy program because it doesn“t require analog pass-through. Many of the CBA“s members manage low-power TV stations and translators, which aren“t required to shut down analog signals next February, as are full-power stations. The only way for people to keep receiving those signals is with continued analog reception capability. The converter boxes backed by the fed are required to translate digital signals for analog televisions. Only a few also pass through analog signals.

The Microprose model in question was the MPI-500PT. Another Microprose, the MPI-500, is certified by the NTIA.

Greg Herman of the CBA told Broadcasting and Cable“s John Eggerton (who broke the story), that his group thought the box had been certified and consequently promoted it.

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