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ALPS Electric DTV Tuner Production Tops 500,000

ALPS Electric announced that as of February 29, 2004, it has produced a total of 500,000 TDE and THD series terrestrial digital broadcasting tuners.

"Digital terrestrial television broadcasting is proliferating rapidly worldwide," the company noted. "In Europe, eight countries are broadcasting digital television terrestrially. In the U.S., digital terrestrial broadcasting is being introduced in stages, with plans to make 13-inch and larger televisions compatible with digital terrestrial broadcasting by 2007. In Japan, digital terrestrial broadcasting began in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya in December 2003, and is scheduled to cover the entire nation by 2006. Plans call for halting analog broadcasting in 2011 in Japan. In addition, Japan is one step ahead of the world in the spreading popularity of digital broadcasting, with digital tuners increasingly integrated into digital TVs and DVD recorders, two of the three main types of digital products entering a period of growth. A diverse variety of applications for digital tuners is likely to emerge, including for automobiles and cellular phones, to complement viewing television broadcasts within the home."

According to the latest NAB TV TechCheck, ALPS digital tuners are used in the USDTV set-top box. The TV TechCheck article also describes how USDTV multiplexes its cable programming onto one 39 Mbps stream and then uses multiple DTV stations to transmit a portion of the stream in any extra data bandwidth they have available. Decoding this certainly requires some extra capability in the USDTV set-top box. It also appears USDTV is using some of the intelligence in the box to prevent people from using the box to receive free over-the-air DTV without paying the $19.95/month subscription fee. According to the USDTV Subscription Details warn "A subscription to USDTV is required to receive any broadcast service with the USDTV receiver." (Also see TV Technology News Bytes article USDTV Now Available.