Tuesday, January 01, 2008

DTV convertion for next year. Where's the Box?

After reading and searching thought page after page of text I found that the converter boxes that the government will give low income people won't start until January 1, 2009. They are allocating a set amount of money for coupons for this program but it seems too little for me. You house hold income can't be more then $19k which sounds like the majority of people out there before the price of flat screen TV's come down in price.

Looking up the prices of converter boxes that are on the market right now they range from $350 dollars and up. The government believes that they will come out with cheaper one that are about $50 dollars. They have a list on places that sell them but again the price is $350 dollars and up. One was over $2,000 so there must be some sort of program to get them cheaper. I see it as a big money making program for manufactures and people that sell them.

I looked into the chip that does the decoding of the digital signal and it's cost is around $13 dollars. How they are going to make a box that's in the $50 dollar range is going to be a good trick. You have to think some one has to make circuit boards. The price of all the chips that go on the circuit boards because it's not a one chip operation, just look at what it takes to decode satellite information. There also is the hardware to assemble the box such as screws, nuts and bolts. Since it works at such high frequencies there is going to be needed shielding to keep the noise in the box so it doesn't interfere with other electronic devices in your home.

From working in manufacturing and knowing how things are priced and marked up, the boxes have to be sold from the manufactures to the stores for about $25 dollars. The manufactures cost marks it up about 10 times the cost that they sell it for so that means the cost to the manufacture has to be around $2.50 dollars. That include labor and all the costs of all the parts. I don't know how they are going to bring the cost of the digital decoding chip at it's current cost.

What got me out of all this searching yesterday was how much reading I had to do searching for the coupon program only to find out it won't start until next year. Seems like there's going to be a big rush all at once next year to get boxes and what I can see is a lot of people are going to be left out. You'll have to look into some of the sites like I did. See how complex the laws are and how complex it is to figure out if you can get a coupon to buy a box. The TV ad that's on TV right now tells you about the switch and the web site to go to but going there doesn't tell you anything except how to hook it up, that there is a coupon program, why they are switching over but not the full store about that. You need to go to the government site to find out more and that's where it gets fun. Spend a day trying to figure out if you qualify for a coupon. Then try to find out if you can even find a box out there to buy because when you start looking the boxes on the market now are all discontinued.

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