USDTV Under the Radar

For viewers who want more programming choice than is available off the air but not the expense of cable or satellite, USDTV offers a unique alternative. It leases unused secondary digital channels, often from religious broadcasters, and provides over-the-air pay TV. For $20 per month you get about 30 channels, including ESPN, Lifetime, Food Network, Disney, Fox News, and other popular "cable" offerings. The Starz movie channel is another $6.95 per month.

USDTV charges $25 for start-up and a special promotional price of $9.95 for a conventional rooftop antenna, which it installs at no additional charge. The USDTV set-top box includes a digital tuner that also receives regular digital broadcasts from local stations, so it can also serve as a digital converter box for analog TVs. Additional boxes are $4.95 each.

Pilot cities for the service when in launched in 2003 were Albuquerque, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas. USDTV just added its first major market with Dallas-Ft. Worth and first East Coast outpost with Norfolk, Virginia. It plans to expand into several more major markets this spring. Service can be ordered by phone or purchased at Wal-Marts in the areas USDTV serves.

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