[opendtv] STB hunting

  • From: "Albert Manfredi" <bert22306@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 14:21:30 -0500

So yesterday I go to the same Radio Shack where I bought my Accurian just 
before Christmas, because they were showing on the web site that they had 
some in stock. I was planning to buy a second one. There was someone else in 
line before me, waiting to talk to the store manager.

When his turn came up, he was there to ask about buying an OTA HDTV 
receiver! And not only that, but the store manager had a well rehearsed 
reply ready for him. "The Accurian is a discontinued item. I don't care what 
the Internet says, there are none in stock in any of the Washington area 
stores." Obviously, he had been asked many times.

So again, I hope and trust that this isn't being lost to Radio Shack upper 
management. Given the right price point, which I'm guessing to be around 
$100, and nothing more than a word of mouth reputation for good performance, 
there is a healthy demand for DTT STBs. (FWIW, my prediction was that by 
now, STBs should be going for a regular price of about $130, so that they 
could have dropped to just under $100 by next holiday season, when analog TV 
was slated to go off the air.)

Much as I was disappointed that there weren't any in stock, I was pleased by 
the evidence of demand. I told the guy to try Circuit City nearby and 
Costco, not much further away. Drawing from Richard's research, I told him 
that both Circuit City and Costco had STBs that were clones of the Accurian, 
so they too should work reasonably well. At Circuit City, they were out of 
the 3rd gen LG STB and LG PVR units (which were in stock before Christmas), 
but had the Pro brand, Digital Stream brand, Samsung SIRT-451, and also a 
Humax PVR which was claimed to be good for cable, DBS, or OTA. When I asked, 
the store clerk said that OTA was digital OTA for this Humax PVR.

Prices at Circuit City now were no different now from what they were before 
Christmas *and* before Christmas 2004. $229 for the Digital Stream and 
clones, $249 for the 3rd gen Samsung. The supply of OTA antennas seemed to 
be depleted from before Christmas. They only had two or three types left in 
the store, only the cheaper ones. Including one that clips to the DBS dish. 
And again, Circuit City has these items right up front, not hidden away. 
They are next to the DVD players and DVD recorders. But prices are amazingly 
stable, especially given that these units are quite aged by CE product 

So I think that demand for DTT products does exist and could be nurtured 
quite easily. Seems to me clear that if DTT products don't move quickly, it 
is entirely caused by an incomprehensible failure from the supply side of 
the equation. Meaning the CE vendors and the broadcasters themselves. 
Failure to promote, failure to provide up to date products at price points 
the CE market can certainly meet. Maybe vendors are trying to force people 
to buy all-new integrated sets. Don't know. Seems counterproductive to try 
to force people to buy what they figure they don't need, but what do I know. 
Surely, if customers with older TVs try out DTT and like what they see, they 
will be more likely to spring for the new HDTV sets, no?


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