Government-approved converter box questions

The government-approved digital converter box coupon program is soon to be here.

I understand that several manufacturers have submitted converter box samples that have been approved for production. Perhaps the converter boxes are now in production toward the January through March 2008 window of opportunity for the initial phase of the coupon program.

I understand these government-approved converter boxes are primarily designed for those using an antenna for reception, or with a basic level of cable service–those presently without a digital converter box.

I have browsed the internet, searching in vain for specific information as to technical specifications of these government-approved converter boxes.

What channel range will government-approved converter boxes tune? Do these products cover a very limited spectrum of broadcast stations; or a wider spectrum that will allow them to be a viable substitute for digital cable converter and satellite boxes supplied by such service providers?

By comparison, my Panasonic DMR-EZ17 tunes analog and digital channels up to the 135 channel range, while our Comcast Motorola digital converter boxes tune up to the mid 900 channel range.

In another forum I posted a message substantially the same as that of my earlier post. Here is the response I received:

They will strictly handle the over-the-air broadcast frequencies of the VHF and UHF spectrum that will still be employed for digital broadcasting. They are not intended to convert anything else so don’t expect them to work with your cable or satellite system unless those systems are using only those parts of the spectrum and the same signal encoding as digital broadcasting. Remember, the only purpose of these boxes is to convert ATSC digital signals to NTSC-compatible analog signals.

If you want to see the technical requirements, they are here: