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Winegard Company’s Growth Parallels Rise of Television Industry

BURLINGTON, Iowa (Jan. 1, 2010) – Since its founding by John Winegard in 1954, Winegard Company has been a leading manufacturer of quality television reception products. Throughout the years, the company has consistently been on the cutting edge of design and manufacturing technology: from the original “Yagi” home television antenna, to the wildly popular Sensar® over-the-air RV TV antenna, to today’s state-of-the-art automatic multi-satellite television systems.

And now, with the advent of the new ATSC mobile digital TV standards, Winegard is ready to help consumers navigate these new, uncertain waters with its innovative LCD mobile device, Cio™. But in order to understand how Winegard will lead the industry through this next phase, we must go back to the beginning.

In 1948, at the dawn of the television age, there were less than 1 million TVs in the US. By late 1953, that number skyrocketed to 25 million. John Winegard’s inventive spirit grew along with the fledgling industry, and he incorporated Winegard Company on December 29, 1953.

Winegard proved to be a dynamic businessman, from designing antennas to progressive marketing. He also knew customers were the key to his business success, and “customer service” became a byword at Winegard long before it became a buzzword to American business.

Because of his entrepreneurial spirit, Winegard Company holds a number of industry “firsts.” When the government opened the UHF spectrum to TV broadcasters in 1955, Winegard led the way with the first 82-channel antenna, the Twilight.

Winegard also was the first to include an anodized finish for aluminum antenna elements; to use multi-colored antenna cartons as a merchandising tool; and the first to introduce antenna merchandising floor displays. And in 1959, Winegard entered the electronics field with the introduction of a booster coupler that used electronic components for the first time.

The 60s brought continued growth. In 1961, Winegard introduced a line of Master Antenna TV distribution system components, including the launch of the Powertron antenna — the first electronic antenna that could handle multiple television sets.

December 1962 saw the introduction of TV/FM outlets, and in 1963, Winegard introduced the company’s first UHF amplifier. Through an aggressive advertising program, Winegard played a vital role in educating the public that new color television programming required a TV antenna designed specifically for color reception. Sales skyrocketed as a result of increased demand for color TVs and the growing antenna replacement market. In 1969, Winegard supplied distribution amplifiers to the Johnson Space Center for the first lunar landing.

During the 1970s, the company modified one of its home antennas and began supplying the Sensar® (batwing) antenna to Winnebago Industries, which opened up the world of mobile (RV) television viewing. The original technology for the Sensar® TV antenna, intended for close in-home TV, was developed by John Winegard much earlier. In fact, the patent had almost expired when it was redirected to the RV market. The Sensar antenna is now the number one selling RV television antenna in the US, with some 15 million sold to date.

TV viewing changed dramatically in the 1980s with the launch of satellite television programming. Winegard, again, was quick to respond by developing a complete line of C-band antennas.

In the 90s, K-band digital satellite television replaced most of the C-band business. Winegard kept pace by developing new antennas for residential and mobile applications. To meet the market demand, a new addition to the manufacturing facility was completed in 1994 and a new office building opened in 2000, bringing the plant footprint to 200,000 square feet.

With the advent of digital and high-definition TV, Winegard is again at the forefront with its Digital HD Receiver that allows consumers to capture digital TV signals when used in conjunction with a Winegard over-the-air antenna. The receiver gives users the ability to receive crisp, clear, digital/DVD quality picture and sound on their existing TV – even if it’s not an HDTV — with no monthly programming fees.

The unit captures free high-definition programming on HD-ready televisions, as well as additional programming choices that analog reception does not offer. Instead of only having one program to choose from off of a local network station, broadcasters have the ability to multi-cast up to six additional channels of news, weather, sports, education and other programming, depending on the individual broadcaster. In addition, the receiver features an easy-to-use on-screen programming guide with information and schedules for each available channel.

And now, with the new Cio™ by Winegard, the company is poised for the next generation in television viewing: mobile digital television (DTV) reception – true live TV on the go. Designed to receive mobile DTV signals, Cio is equipped with Winegard’s touch-screen technology and plays a wide range of other formats, including 3G Internet, DVD, CD, iPod music and video, MP3, SD card photo and video files, USB audio and video storage and game devices.

Winegard’s manufacturing capabilities and processes are second to none in the TV antenna industry. Throughout its history, the company has endeavored to be a vertically integrated manufacturer. From design through production, it’s all done at Winegard’s two large facilities in Burlington.

For more information about Cio, visit www.ciomobiletv.com.

About Winegard:
Winegard Company has been manufacturing quality television and radio reception products for more than 55 years. Headquartered in Burlington, Iowa, Winegard enjoys a worldwide reputation that is based on many industry “firsts,” including the all-channel “Yagi” TV antenna, 82-channel antenna, antenna mounted preamplifiers, antenna amplifiers, the anodizing process, perforated aluminum satellite antenna and the RV television antenna, among others.

Winegard Company currently manufactures and markets four distinct product lines:

Mobile Television Reception Products: Recreational vehicle, truck, marine, and automotive applications; digital and HD satellite TV antennas ranging from manual crank-up models to fully automatic stationary and in-motion systems with GPS/DVB; DTV and HDTV bi-directional and omni-directional over-the-air antennas; and ground antenna mounts and accessories.

Satellite TV Antennas and Mounts: Residential antennas ranging in size from 46 cm to 1 meter, including mounts and accessories.

Over-the-Air DTV/HDTV Antennas: DTV and HDTV VHF/UHF/FM TV Antenna Systems, Distribution and Preamplifiers, Power Supplies and Accessories.

Telemetry: Medical and Data Antenna Systems, Distribution Amplifiers, Power Supplies and Accessories.

For consumer product questions, contact Winegard Customer Service at 800-288-8094 or visit www.winegard.com; a wide selection of downloadable Cio press releases and images are available on Cio's online news archive at www.editorpressroom.com/cio.

Julie Safreed