NEW YORK: With the 2009 deadline for digital-only television in the US fast approaching, converter box makers are rubbing their hands in anticipation of the financial rewards to be reaped.

Indoor and outdoor aerials will be useless when the anlog signal is switched off, as will more than 69 million TV sets which are currently without a digital capability.

Converter boxes will be needed by these households to keep their TVs going, and the US government is offering to subsidize two such gadgets to the tune of $40 (€28; £19) each, beginning January 2008.

Declares media and technology consultant Afzaal Akhta: "The market is sizable, so somebody is going to make out pretty well."

Among those hoping to cash in is LG Electronics of South Korea. The company is harking back to the veteran US Zenith television brand which it bought ten years ago and under which it will market its converter box.

Comments LG spokesman John Taylor: "It made sense to capitalize on this well-known American brand."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff