The Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV) and the NAB plan to develop a prototype digital-to-analog converter box for terrestrial digital television reception.
The announcement received a cool reception from the consumer electronics industry, who viewed it as another in a series of DTV delaying tactics by television broadcasters.
The broadcast trade groups said they would solicit proposals from the consumer electronics industry and others to build a prototype converter. They plan to have a working prototype by the end of the year.
The availability of an affordable converter has become a hot button issue over legislation to end the DTV transition. A subsidy for the converters is considered an essential element of any compromise legislation.
Several manufacturers have told Congress they can produce low-cost boxes in large volume. Estimates range from $40 to $100.