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Zenith Releases New Box With Analog Pass-through

Zenith has launched a new digital TV tuner that includes an analog pass-through for pickup of low-power TV stations, a coveted feature as the switch to all-digital draws near.

(click thumbnail)Of the 45 converter boxes approved by the NTIA under the converter box program now available through retail, only 12 can pass-through analog signals. An additional 60 certified converter boxes, of which 20 can pass-through analog signals, are not yet available. Zenith officials touted the addition of analog pass-through as a valuable feature for consumers who will still be able to view low power analog broadcast signals after full power signals are shut off next February.

“We recognize that many consumers who require a converter box for digital channels also will continue to enjoy low-power analog stations after next February, and including the popular analog pass-through feature provides the means to achieve this important goal,” Zenith Senior Vice President Richard M. Lewis said.

The device and its pass-through feature received encouraging nods from several organizations including the NAB, Community Broadcasters Association and the National Translator Association.

“The CBA is pleased that Zenith digital-to-analog converter boxes are now offered exclusively with the important analog pass-through feature,” said Greg Herman, vice president of technology for the CBA. “We tested the new Zenith DTT901 in April and find it to be a sound solution for the millions of viewers who require the ability to receive analog as well as digital broadcast signals.”

The Zenith DTT901 is smaller than a hardback book, at 8×7×2 inches, includes several consumer-friendly features and a universal remote control. It is energy efficient, drawing 5 watts when active and less than half a watt while in standby mode. In addition to V-Chip parental control, the DTT901 provides advanced digital closed captions.

Zenith digital TV converter boxes are now available in retail stores at a suggested retail price of $59.95.

As of early July, 18.8 million converter box coupons have been requested through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the federal agency managing the converter box program. More than 4.8 million coupons have been redeemed and an average of more than 104,000 coupon applications are being filed on a daily basis, according to the NTIA.