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More Choices for Portable DTVs



Consumers looking for handheld portable DTV receivers for use inside or outside the house now have more choices at better prices.

My personal experience has been limited to an early generation Insignia 7-inch portable (very poor performance on the supplied antenna in multiple markets) two years ago and more recently a RadioShack Accurian 7-inch portable (opens in new tab) I had a chance to play with in Phoenix that offered significantly better performance, at least on UHF DTV stations. This past Sunday, I was tempted to buy a Haier 7-inch portable (opens in new tab) on sale at a Target store in Costa Mesa, Calif., but held off until I did more research. I've heard good reports from owners of the Eviant 7-inch portable (opens in new tab), although Amazon customers only gave it three stars. Amazon customers gave the Axion AXN-8701 7-inch portable DTV (opens in new tab) four stars, compared to three and a half for the Haier and the Colby TF-V891 8-inch portable.

Prices for these receivers were reasonable; the Target Haier was discounted to $129. On Amazon (opens in new tab) it was on sale for $109.99. The Colby 8-inch and Pegasus 9-inch (opens in new tab) were the most expensive at $149. The lowest cost ATSC receiver was an unrated Tivax HiRez 7-inch portable (opens in new tab) discounted to 109.99. Other ATSC receivers ranged from $112.95 for the unrated iView 7-inch.portable (opens in new tab) to $119.99 for the Eviant.

If any readers have a chance to try out these TV sets, please let me know how they work and I will report the results here in a week or two. Note that while these are portable DTV receivers, do not expect them to work as well as the ATSC mobile DTV receivers coming out next year. The ATSC mobile standard allows receivers to maintain lock in even the presence of Doppler reflections and phase shifts common in moving vehicles. ATSC mobile DTV receivers will also be able to decode signals at much lower signal to noise ratios, offsetting the loss of gain due to small antennas.