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Major TV broadcasters agree to fund USDTV expansion

U.S. Digital Television (USDTV) last week signed a $25.75 million funding agreement with an investment group that includes Fox Television Stations, Hearst-Argyle Television, McGraw-Hill Broadcasting, LIN TV, Morgan-Murphy Stations and Telcom DTV to fund expansion of its low cost, all-digital over-the-air alternative to cable.

The USDTV service, which costs consumers less than $20 per month, delivers nearly 30 all digital channels, including local digital and HDTV broadcast channels and 12 cable networks, including FOX News Channel, ESPN and The Disney Channel.

Consumers receive the USDTV service through a VHF/UHF antenna connected to a proprietary USDTV set-top box, producing digital quality picture and sound on standard TVs. USDTV is able to broadcast its service by leasing spectrum from its television station partners in each market.

The service is currently being tested in three pilot markets: Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and Las Vegas. USDTV is expected to launch its service in other markets in the coming months. Planned technology upgrades include video on-demand content and digital video recording services.

The USDTV service, including USDTV compatible set-top boxes, will be available directly from USDTV and through national and local retailers.

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