DTV Converter Prices Plummet

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.