New Zenith Digital TV Converter Box With Analog Pass-Through Capability now Available

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Community Broadcasters Association Endorses Zenith DTT901, Applauds Enhanced Functionality

WASHINGTON — Responding to surging demand for digital-to-analog TV converter boxes, the new Zenith DTT901 digital TV tuner — with analog pass-through for pickup of low-power TV stations — is now available nationwide. Like its predecessor (model DTT900), Zenith’s new DTT901 carries a suggested retail price of $59.95.

Since January, U.S. households have requested millions of $40 government coupons to subsidize most of the cost of digital TV converter boxes. With consumers now redeeming some 50,000 converter box coupons each day, demand continues to be brisk for the small digital TV tuners that will keep millions of analog TV sets operating after full-power broadcasters switch to all-digital broadcasting on Feb. 17, 2009.

“Some people are surprised at the strong interest in converter boxes. Since the Zenith DTT901 was officially certified by the U.S. Commerce Department in May, production has been ramping up to meet the growing demand for converter boxes generally and for analog pass-through models specifically,” said Zenith Senior Vice President Richard M. Lewis.

“We recognize that many consumers who require a converter box for digital channels also will continue to enjoy low-power analog stations after next February, and including the popular analog pass-through feature provides the means to achieve this important goal. Building on our long-time alliance with full-power broadcasters across the nation, we look forward to working with low-power community stations to help educate American consumers about the nation’s transition to digital TV and how to choose the best converter box for their needs.”

Thousands of retail storefronts across the United States — from national retailers to regional dealers to smaller local stores — are now carrying Zenith digital TV converter boxes.

Marcellus Alexander, executive vice president of television for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), said, “Television and radio stations across the country are on the air now promoting the digital TV transition. Our surveys of the American public show very high awareness of the digital TV transition. Zenith has been a good partner with the DTV Transition Coalition and the NAB, and it’s good to see more options reaching retail stores for viewers who want to keep their analog TV sets operating during the transition to all-digital broadcasting.”

Low-Power Broadcasters Pleased with New Option

Nationwide shipment of the new Zenith DTT901 converter box is an encouraging sign to both the Community Broadcasters Association (CBA) and the National Translator Association, both of which view the Zenith DTT901 as ideal for viewers who will continue to rely on low-power analog as well as full-power digital TV broadcasts after the February full-power TV transition is completed.

“The CBA is pleased that Zenith digital-to-analog converter boxes are now offered exclusively with the important analog pass-through feature,” said Greg Herman, vice president of technology for the Community Broadcasters Association, which endorsed the DTT901. “We tested the new Zenith DTT901 in April and find it to be a sound solution for the millions of viewers who require the ability to receive analog as well as digital broadcast signals. Zenith has long been a major player in the digital TV transition, and we’re delighted that all new Zenith converter boxes have analog pass-through capability.”

Dr. Byron St. Clair, president of the National Translator Association that represents rebroadcast translators, notes that the new Zenith DTT901 has analog TV pass-through among its many useful features and he considers it well adapted to the needs of the viewers served by some 5,000 translators now providing TV signals to viewers.

“I purchased a Zenith DTT901 at my local electronics store a few days ago, and I’m pleased to report that it works exactly as hoped – tuning in all the new digital TV stations while passing through TV signals detected by an antenna to a TV’s analog tuner when appropriate,” he said. “Our members, who deliver TV signals to rural areas, will eventually switch to digital service, but in many translator-served areas the change to digital will be phased in one channel at a time. So those viewers will absolutely need analog pass-through converter boxes like the Zenith DTT901.”

Small Box, Big Features

Despite its compact size (smaller than a hardback book, at 8″ x 7″ x 2″), the DTT901 packs in a long list of consumer-friendly features and a universal remote control that offers one-touch closed-captioning control, accessibility to Second Audio Program information, a “what’s on next” program guide button, and one button for signal strength — and even a sleep timer.

Super Energy Efficient: The DTT901 goes above and beyond the federal ENERGY STAR(R) requirements, drawing only five watts when active and less than half a watt while in standby mode. And to save even more energy, the DTT901 is designed to automatically turn off after four hours of inactivity.

Digital Closed Captions: In addition to V-Chip parental control, the DTT901 provides advanced digital closed captions, including the capability to choose from multiple fonts, sizes, colors, backgrounds, and more with one-touch convenience from the remote control. This builds on Zenith’s heritage of accessible products, including the first analog TV sets with closed-captioning capability more than 15 years ago.

Supreme Simplicity: Setup couldn’t be easier. Just connect an antenna, put the included AAA battery in the remote control, and connect the box to the TV’s antenna input. A channel scan can be accomplished in seconds. Each individual digital TV channel is also customizable with the on-remote Zoom button, so viewers can choose how digital TV programs are displayed on their analog TV (full screen or letterboxed, for example.) And the DTT901 even remembers viewing preferences, channel by channel.

Operators Standing By: An easy-to-follow connection guide is included, and DTT901 owners may also call Zenith’s toll-free consumer hotline (1-877-9ZENITH) for set-up and operational assistance.