The Association for Maximum Service Television Stations and the National Association of Broadcasters last week announced their intention to pursue development of a prototype digital-to-analog converter box for terrestrial digital television reception.
The associations soon will publish a Request for Quote (RFQ) and solicit proposals from the consumer electronics industry and others to build a prototype converter box. The groups are hoping to have a working prototype by the end of the year, which can serve as a blueprint for future products from manufacturers.
The associations have three major design goals for the converter box: It must be easy to use, inexpensive and have a high quality receiver.
Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, issued a statement calling the joint MSTV-NAB move a “publicity stunt.” According to Shapiro, no one has ever claimed there was a problem with building such a converter.
Rather, he pointed to a lack of demand for such a converter “as most local broadcaster do not have full-power HDTV broadcasts and only 11 percent of TV sets are even used to receive” terrestrial broadcast signals.