I don’t have a portable TV, so I hadn’t given the matter of their obsolescence due to the digital transition any thought, but if you have one, you ought to be aware of it.
Though Americans were given four extra months to prepare for the nationwide switch from analog to digital signals, the conversion date last week coincided with the advent of this year’s hurricane season, creating challenges for those like Clanton, who depend on battery-operated sets during emergencies.
Because digital converter boxes are plugged into the wall, on-the-go analog TV sets won’t function during a blackout. The audio from analog TV broadcasts received on radios are now tuned out, as well.
In September, former Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin warned of a possible shortage of battery-operated digital TV equipment and called on groups such as the Consumer Electronic Association to encourage their availability.
FCC spokeswoman Edie Herman said the agency was both concerned and prepared from the outset for residents who rely on portable sets during emergencies.
“The question of battery-powered TVs came to our mind very early on,” she said, “and so the people trying to help and educate consumers with the change were aware of the issue, too.”
The only portable analog sets that have the potential to be kept alive are ones with an antenna port, typically absent on older or smaller models. These TVs must be combined with supplemental devices to get a picture.
Apparently, there are battery-powered digital TVs available, but they’re more expensive and early models weren’t very dependable. The article suggests an NOAA weather radio as a cheaper alternative.