Dish Network, HITN Partner on DTV Transition Help for Latinos

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Dish Network and the Hispanic Information Telecommunications Network have expanded on a joint initiative to help Latino communities make the transition to all-digital TV by implementing new consumer-direct video conference workshops throughout New York and Puerto Rico, with viewer participation from California sites, officials said Tuesday.

New features expand on the initiative's proactive approach through on-site support workshops that allow viewers to apply and obtain converter boxes and coupons during live video conferences. The live teleconference workshops utilize HITN's proprietary CBO Connect network of Latino community-based organizations to provide the nation's only grassroots digital transition outreach.

“Digital television will bring exciting advances in broadcast technology that could significantly increase the quality and scope of HITN's educational programming and services,” HITN president Jose Luis Rodriguez said in a prepared statement. “As the nation's only television network dedicated to public service programming for Latino audiences, we are excited to go beyond the information campaigns that other television networks have to offer and actually provide live workshops that ensure Spanish-speaking consumers who may be confused can receive on-site support at these workshops.”

Barriers to digital transition by Latinos include lack of access to Spanish-language information, misinformation about the need to purchase new television entertainment systems, and lack of information on how to install converter boxes. Another issue that Latinos are expected to face are expiration dates for coupons.

Originally launched in February, Television Digital—Es Hora del Cambio is an initiative developed by HITN TV in partnership with Dish Network. The grassroots approach incorporates live video-conference workshops to teach consumers how to obtain and install converter boxes, public service announcements on HITN TV featuring Federal Communications Commission commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Robert McDowell, and consumer-direct converter box dissemination in New York and Puerto Rico.

Latino families can benefit from the grassroots initiative at upcoming video conference workshops taking place Nov. 12 and Dec. 3 in public libraries, and community-based organizations throughout New York and Puerto Rico.

HITN and Dish Network hosted two previous workshops in October, providing community participants with information on obtaining top-rated converter boxes directly from participating local community based organizations or Dish Network's national network of independent retailers - many of whom are coupon-certified.

Customers can also obtain the converter boxes by mail through HITN's online service at http://www.hitn.tv/dtv. Dish Network has provided all-digital transition educational materials and had experts available onsite to answer questions and advise on how to order NTIA coupons and Dish Network's DTVPal, DTVPal Plus and TR-40 CRA converter boxes.

"As the only pay-TV provider offering both 100% digital television packages in English, Spanish and international languages, and some of the most sought-after converter boxes on the market today, Dish Network looks forward to assisting in the education of Latino consumers to ensure they continue to enjoy their TV programming once the switch is complete." Jessica Insalaco, Dish Network’s chief marketing officer, said in a prepared statement.

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