After losing backing of its major investor, the wireless cable service says it is shutting down and offering to refund money to subscribers who paid for set-top boxes. The service, which used broadcast digital spectrum, had filed for bankruptcy last summer.
USDigital, Inc. said last night it is ceasing operations and closing down USDTV, its low-cost digital TV service, after almost four years of business. The closure is due to a funding withdrawal from its major investor who has experienced a financial setback in another business, the company said.
Last July, the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but said at the time it was working with its backers to keep the pay service going.
The closure will affect subscribers in Salt Lake City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Albuquerque and Las Vegas.
“We are greatly saddened that we have to discontinue the USDTV service,” said Steve Lindsley, CEO of USDigital. “Our customers have been very loyal. We want to thank them for their support and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause them.
“We also wish to express appreciation to our colleagues and friends for their support and belief in USDTV. They’ve helped our Utah-based team accomplish many historic firsts in the broadcasting industry. As a result thousands of homes have enjoyed and benefited from the savings and the family friendly programming USDTV provided.”
USDTV was formed in 2003 and was the first “over-the-air” terrestrial digital subscription TV service in the United States offering consumers a low-cost alternative to cable. The service was broadcast to customers for $19.95 a month using the digital signals of local TV station partners. Customers received USDTV with a standard VHF/UHF antenna and a propriety digital TV converter box.
The USDTV service included all the local and national broadcast channels from networks like ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, along with many leading cable networks such as Fox News Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, Discovery, TLC, The Disney Channel, Toon Disney, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, HGTV, The Food Channel and Starz.
The company said that it has made arrangements with a third party installation company to convert the USDTV set-top box so as to continue receiving free over-the-air local digital and high-definition TV channels without the USDTV cable service. Customers may also opt to return the receiver to the company. More information can be found online at www.usdtv.com.
The company is also attempting to make arrangements with other TV service providers to give USDTV customers a special offer if they choose to subscribe to another service.More details will be posted on the USDTV web site when they become available.