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USDTV to Launch in Virginia Market

USDTV, the Salt Lake City company that offers an all-digital pay TV package over spare broadcast bits, will launch its service in Norfolk, Va., this spring. The announcement was made at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Norfolk market will be USDTV's fifth one and the first on the east coast. Other USDTV markets include Dallas/Fort Worth, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, and Las Vegas.

The service will ride on digital bits provided by a local station owned by LIN TV. The package will include more than 30 channels, including local stations and cable networks such as ESPN, Discovery, Disney and the Fox News Channel for $19.95 a month. Starz is also available for another $6.95 a month. The basic price will be locked in for two years, according to the company.

"We have closely observed the development of USDTV over the past 18 months and believe many of our citizens will benefit from a low-cost all-digital over-the-air TV service," said Hap Cluff, director of information technology for the City of Norfolk.

The service is received through a standard VHF/UHF antenna connected to a USDTV set-top box, "which produces a digital-quality picture on an analog TV or an HDTV quality picture on an HD-ready TV for those programs broadcast in that format," according to USDTV. The box retails for $24.95.

Last November USDTV announced a $25.75 million funding agreement with several partners, among them: Fox Television Stations, Hearst-Argyle Television, McGraw-Hill Broadcasting, LIN TV Corp., Morgan Murphy Stations and Telcom DTV, LLC.