USDTV Readies New Set-Tops


U.S. Digital Television LLC is rolling out a second-generation set-top box, officials said Monday.

The new box will serve as a media hub for new themed content packages from the low-cost digital-wireless-cable service, along with video-on-demand, digital-video recording, home networking and broadband connectivity.

USDTV will release its new set-tops in two phases. The first phase will start this fall, with boxes featuring new digital technologies, like the new system-on-a-chip media processor from Sigma Designs Inc.

In early 2007, USDTV will release an enhanced version of the set-top incorporating a 250-gigabyte hard drive, which will support a variety of storage-based and in-home-networking services.

Subscribers need an antenna, as well as one of the company’s set-tops, to receive the no-frills TV service, which includes local broadcast stations and about one-dozen cable channels for $19.95 per month.

Earlier this month, USDTV said it was switching its entire network to MPEG-4 (Moving Picture Expert Group) advanced-video-compression technology, which will enable it to offer themed content packages, like tiers of Hispanic services.