DTV Converter Prices Plummet

CYBERSPACE: DTV converter prices are collapsing like a flan in a cupboard. A new Access HD DTA-1080D sold for $26 on eBay this morning. It was listed for $45 at one online retailer. Other Access models are listed starting at $9.99. A Magnavox TB110MW9 starts at $10.45. Amazon has it for $35. A used Digital Stream DTX 9950 is going for $9.49 (less than the $10.35 shipping price.) A new Artec T3AP-LS is at $6.50 after three bids. Several online retailers have it listed for around $45.

All the above models are certified by the government’s converter subsidy program, which stopped taking requests for $40 coupons on July 31.

eBay has around 400 of the boxes up for auction, and bidding appears tepid. Less than 1 percent of U.S. households had no TV reception whatsoever at the end of July, according to Nielsen. The audience measurement firm said 1.5 million households hadn’t converted to digital reception, but 60 percent of those were getting low-power, translator and/or border signals.

Rougly 200,000 households per week were adopting DTV technology, per Nielsen’s last count. Adoption could entail subscribing to cable or satellite, plugging in a TV set with an integrated digital tuner, or hooking up a converter box.

The fed’s final count on its converter coupon program was tallied as of Aug. 12. More than 64 million coupons were mailed; 25.7 million expired; 34.1 million were redeemed; and around 4.3 million remained active. Thus, active coupons outnumbered analog households 3.5 to one.

The rate of coupon redemption has fallen over the last month as well, from around 51,000 on July 13, to 13,000 on Aug. 11.
(Cover image by Joshua Gardner)

More TVB coverage of DTV household transition:
July 23, 2009: “Border and LP Stations Take Up DTV Disruption Slack”
More than half of the 1.3 million U.S. households lacking digital TV reception were still watching TV over the air two weeks after the analog shutdown, according to Sara Erichson, president of North American Media Client Services North America for Nielsen. Virtually all of the nation’s full-power TV stations ceased regular analog broadcasting June 12.

July 16, 2009: “TV-less Households Now Total 1.5 Million”
Nielsen said today that 200,000 homes have upgraded to digital television in the last two weeks. In the month following the June 12 government-mandated digital TV transition, more than 1 million households have made the switch. This most recent improvement leaves 1.5 million American households, or 1.3 percent, unable to receive digital television signals...

July 1, 2009: “More Stragglers Make the Transition”
Another 400,000 homes made the digital transition over the last week, according to the latest Nielsen numbers. Since the June 12 switch to digital television, Nielsen more than 800,000 homes have tuned into DTV. The total number of TV-less homes now stands at 1.7 million, or 1.5 percent of U.S. homes.

June 24, 2009: “U.S. Households With No TV Now Number 2.1 Million”
Over the weekend following the June 12 transition to all-digital broadcasting, Nielsen estimated that around 2.5 million households went without TV. The firm said the total, representing around 2.2 percent of the nation’s TV households, had been completely unprepared for the final switch too all-digital broadcasting. Around 970 of the nation’s 1,800 or so TV stations ceased broadcasting in analog Friday, June 12.