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Converter Boxes Yield Fresh Business Opportunity

This Week in Consumer Electronics (TWICE) describes how Home Stations Installations has built a business around converter-box installations. The company has its own inventory of antennas and converter boxes and a network of 10,000 installers across the country. The West Pittston, Pa.-based company has a 50-person call center that will eventually be expanded to 100 staffers.

The company provides DTV broadcast reception solutions for consumers, apartment buildings, offices, hotels, hospitals and schools. The TWICE article says Gary Zurenda, the company's president and CEO, worked on the concept quietly for the last year in order to "stay below the radar of cable and satellite operators." Executive Director Colleen Daly said, "It's a great feeling knowing I can help free people from a monthly bill so they can put that savings toward their families."

Daly said that the company was capable of performing thousands of installations each week and was responding to calls from off-air viewers who were losing service due to the DTV transition.

"'I want my free DTV'; that is what I hear most," said Daly. "It is important that the poor, shut-ins, and misfortunate have at least one television working in case of a crisis because this is the emergency frequency. I met with two high ranking Senators' offices and one high ranking Congressman's office, and they are still not sure how to help. I suggested a government coupon to the very needy."

See Home Station's Web site for more information. I've heard many complaints about how difficult it is to find TV antenna installers. In some communities, Home Stations may be the answer.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.