NAB2006: USDTV Unveils Next-Gen MPEG-4 AVC Box

U.S. Digital Television LLC (USDTV), the low-cost digital wireless cable service launched a few years ago by some local broadcasters, provided details of the company's second-gen STB at NAB. The new box integrates digital tuning, compression and storage technologies.

Company officials said the new MPEG-4 AVC box will serve as a media hub for new, themed content packages -- along with VOD, PVR, home networking and broadband connectivity. The STB unit reportedly can also function as a portability base for various mobile content devices.

The first of two phases of the next-gen box will begin shipping to customers in the fall, to include a new system on a chip media processor from Sigma Design, and an 8-VSB DTV demodulator from ATI Technologies. The second phase is planned for early 2007 when USDTV will release an enhanced version of the STB with a 250 GB hard drive to support an array of storage-based and home networking services.

USDTV's goal has always been to establish a low-cost, broadcast-driven alternative to traditional cable and DBS options. The Salt Lake City-based company currently serves an undisclosed number of subscribers in Dallas/Fort Worth, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Albuquerque, N.M.