NTIA Certifies LG Converter Box

The federal agency charged with supervising the DTV transition converter box program this week issued its second certification for the decoders.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced that it has certified a digital-to-analog converter box from LG Electronics. The Korea-based consumer electronics giant said the box—which is designed to operate at less than 8 watts active and 1 watt standby—also exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s EnergyStar program requirements for the converters.

The box is part of the federal government’s plan to transition viewers who currently receive over-the-air broadcasts via analog TV sets to receive DTV broadcasts after analog signals are shut off in February 2009. The plan includes the distribution of up to two $40 coupons per household to purchase the converter boxes, which are expected to retail for less than $70. Two weeks ago, the NTIA announced its first certification went to Digital Stream, also based in Korea.

“It is an honor for LG Electronics to be the first major company to receive official NTIA certification for digital to analog converters,” said Michael Ahn, president and CEO, LG Electronics North American headquarters. “This product is a very important component of the DTV transition assuring that millions of Americans will continue to receive free over-the-air TV programming after the digital switch in just 18 months. LG Electronics is proud of its leadership role in the development of digital television technologies generally and the converter box specifically.”

Features of the box include:

  • V-Chip parental control
  • Advanced digital closed captions
  • Installation guide
  • Electronic program guide
  • 4:3 and 16:9 display formats
  • PSIP processing
  • Channel 2-69 tuning
  • RF input and output
  • Composite (RCA jacks) video and left-right stereo TV audio outputs

LG, which owns the 8-VSB DTV transmission patent, has been working with the NAB and MSTV for several years to develop a reference model for the DTV converter boxes. The company said the boxes were designed to meet or exceed the NTIA’s requirements for sensitivity/RF dynamic range; phase noise and burst noise performance, co-channel, adjacent-channel and taboo channel rejection; and performance meeting the NTIA field ensemble and single static echo criteria.

The company says it plans to ramp up production of the boxes for availability early next year when the coupon program is scheduled to get under way.