Battery-powered digital TVs
I've got a few comments on your July issue. Regarding your editorial, “A DTV Service Pack,” I think the biggest problem we TV broadcasters face is the confusion about the conversion. In our market, I'm concerned that after Feb. 17, 2009, all our viewers will not be served. This is through no fault of our own, but because cable and satellite has complicated the reception issues. Satellite says, “You'll still get your NBC,” but it's unclear in our area which NBC station they will get. I'm concerned many will not get their local signal.
I'm also finding that viewers are very undereducated on antennas. When I grew up in Toledo in the '50s and '60s, my parents and I had a rooftop antenna, and we routinely watched UHF and VHF signals in Detroit from 60mi away.
Now I talk to people 6mi away who don't know what they need to get, where to get it and how to properly install an antenna system. Perhaps public education is needed in this area? Perhaps some enterprising author could produce a book or a downloadable PDF?
Regarding Allen Pitts' letter to the editor about the need for battery-powered digital TVs, I have an old computer battery backup connected to a small Sharp DTV, which serves as my emergency receiver. It has served me well, twice. A small connector parallels the battery, allowing me to put a second battery into service.
But Allen does bring up a good point. The consumer does need a small, portable device. I would also suggest that there is a market for a receiver that would pick up audio only from DTV broadcasts. Such a receiver could be used for both broadcasters in cuing and communications, for revenue with additional audio program streams, and as a public service for the blind.
For example, a station sending out weather radar on its second channel could easily set PIDs so that a third channel uses the video from the second, while taking a different unique audio source. This way, you're not adding more bandwidth retransmitting the same signal twice.
I see this as the solution for reading services for the blind, as well as local services. Perhaps stations could even find revenue streams by sending out audio for radio stations, Web broadcasters, educational institutions, local government, or even kiosks at local malls and public places. Imagine going to the mall and seeing the weather radar while being treated to promotional audio pieces about what will be on the news tonight or what is happening in the community.
But getting back to the point, the industry needs a product — a good versatile product!
Frederick R. Vobbe, VP/CO
The discussion continues
In response to a letter to the editor published in your July issue on battery-operated digital/flat-screen televisions, I can't help but wonder if this person has ever heard of power inverters or generators. If power loss is an issue, you have many choices today.
I'm sure the industry is looking at a way to make small flat-screen digital tuner TV sets. Until this happens, remember some of the newer high-end laptop computers already have built in tuners. I really think it was a question of what Americans will settle on before we start making them by the thousands.
So, go shopping for that genny or a mega-power inverter, study your power formulas, and get creative, America!
In your July issue, Allen Pitts' letter to the editor states that there are no battery-powered digital TVs for people to use in emergencies. Allen Pitts is wrong. Insignia makes a battery-powered DTV receiver, model NS-7HTV.
Richard D. Bogner
Brad Dick responds:
Hmmm … That depends on your definition of “available.”
The receiver you mention appears to be a discontinued model. Yes, I did find one available on eBay, but it's used. A further brief search turned up no new models available for sale in stores I'm familiar with.
However, since the article appeared, other readers have claimed that two other models are available.
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