f/k/a . . . the archives

November 12, 2008

portable tvs and the switch to digital broadcasts

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,Procrastination Punditry — David Giacalone @ 10:20 pm

.. ..  Haier HLT71 7″ Portable Lcd Tv ($120 to $150) — this little digital tv is the Hottest Item around these days.  Indeed, it’s Out of Stock everywhere — from FadFusion, to Buy.com. Amazon.com says this product is its #1 seller this week in the category Electronics – Portable TVs, but states that it “usually ships in 3 to 4 weeks,” which means they really don’t have any right now either.  What’s going on?

The f/k/a Gang is known more for Consumer Advocacy than Consumer Buying Tips, but I just had to remark about the current portable DTV market.  It looks like electronics manufacturers and sellers failed to anticipate the huge demand for portable digital televisions that would be created by the switch to digital broadcasting, which will happen on February 17, 2009.  If your portable tv doesn’t have a digital tuner and isn’t hooked up to cable or satellite, it will soon be a great paperweight, unless you get a converter box and a bi-pole antenna. They’re probably on the Holiday Wish List of a lot of daddies and kids — especially since higher-priced items may be out of reach of a lot of Santas in our current economy.

As the folks at Trailer Life Magazine exclaimed:

“[M]ost battery-powered portable televisions typically have a built-in telescopic antenna, which means they won’t work anymore unless you hook it up to an external antenna and a digital-to-analog converter to the external antenna adapter, meaning they won’t be quite as portable anymore.”

– a typical 5″ B&W analog tv –

Indeed, I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have a 6- or 7″-inch dtv, to replace the 5″ B&W model I’ve got sitting on my kitchen counter, near where I prepare meals and wash dishes.

My cheapo portable cost about $20 (maybe $10 after a RiteAid rebate) and has one of those telescopic antennas.  I’ve been thinking (and telling folks) that this type of tv can’t be hooked up to an analog-to-digital converter box, because they need to be connected to an external antenna.  However, yesterday I noticed my little Coby 5-incher has a jack on the rear that says “Ext. Ant.”   Then, I dug up a manual from one of its predecessors, a very similar GPX model, and it said:

“An external antenna may be connected to the unit using the Antenna Pad. Attach 300-ohm twinlead wire from your antenna to the screw-terminals on the Antenna Pad. Plug the Antenna Pad into the External TV Antenna Jack on the rear of the unit.”

[A so-called Antenna Pad] 

Digging around in the basket where I store various “kept-just-in-case” connectors and cables that currently have no use, I found the Antenna Pad mentioned in the GPX manual.  Since I’m still procrastinating on a rather painful posting about value billing, that got me heading right over to WalMart this morning, where I picked up a Philips indoor antenna for $9.96.

I chose the Philips SDV2210/17 over the $8.96 antenna from RCA, because it came with something called a 75/300 ohm Transformer, which would let me connect the antenna’s coaxial cable to the Antenna Pad for insertion into the tv’s Ext. Ant. Jack. (Should you need one, the connector is available separately for about 4 bucks, e.g., here.)

Yep, things were getting pretty exciting.  Next, I finally took the analog-to-digital converter box I bought three months ago for maybe $10 (after applying my $40 Government Coupon) out of its packaging.  After hooking the antenna to the box and the box to the tv’s External Antenna Jack — and after several bouts of cursing and failed attempts at tuning in the channels — I did it: I’m getting a pretty nice digital b&w picture on about 18 over-the-air digital channels, from my cheap old 5″ kitchen-counter tv.  And, the conversion cost me about $20 total.

Knowing I saved money and will be ready for the switchover on February 17 gives me a nice warm feeling on the chilly, damp evening, and the extra channels and clearer picture are a nice bonus.

.. .. my successful analog to digital conversion, nestled atop my microwave . .

So, who the heck needs the Haier HLT71 7″ Portable Lcd Tv?  Of course, being a gracious gift-recipient, I will grin and bear it if Mama G or some other loved ones happens to slip a Haier HLT71 under my Christmas tree.

After this little tangent around my kitchen, we could use some haiku and senryu from our haijin chronicler of all things domestic, Tom Clausen.  These are from the Route 9 Haiku Group’s latest issue of Upstate Dim Sum:

well worn
the lowest branch
at school

misplaced again
the address
for my gypsy niece

Gettysburg –
a different motel
this time

my daughter growing . . .
closer and closer
to the mirror

offset from its stain
a rusted washer
on the boat’s desk

retirement home –
seagulls lined up
on the jetty

to upgrade
his iPhone
the young beggar

baby rabbit
not scared
enough . . .

for the day
the cat favors
a paper bag

thunder and lightning . . .
my wife gets up
to lock the door

.. by Tom ClausenUpstate Dim Sum (2008/II)

4 Comments

  1. Winegard makes a battery operated converter which could be utilized during a power outage as long as you have a battery operated tv.

    Comment by lana decker — December 12, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

  2. I hace a daewoo 13 inch T.V. that is used at my resturaunt. It has no 75 ohm connections at all only 30-0 ohm. Can it be hooked up to a DTV converter box?

    Comment by L. Eugene — January 6, 2009 @ 8:32 am

  3. L. Eugene, I am not an expert, but I believe either kind of antenna can be used with a converter box, and that transformers are readily available at minimal cost that allow you to connect either type to a converter box. You can surely find the answer to this question by going to the Government Coupon link in the post above.

    Comment by David Giacalone — January 6, 2009 @ 11:42 am

  4. Thank you a million zillion times, I as well have two wonderful little TV’s that sit / kitchen and bathroom. Great to have on while one is getting ready for the day. They must be 20+ years old. Without your info, I was unsure if I would be able to do this.

    Comment by debra — January 25, 2009 @ 10:27 am

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