While the major network O&Os agreed to continue analog broadcasting until the new June 12 shutdown date, many stations will cease analog broadcasting on Feb. 17 or switch to an “enhanced night light” service. Throughout the DTV transition, there has been concern about viewers losing TV reception on battery-operated portable TV sets. As discussed in previous issues of RF Report, some portable DTV receivers are available now, and more are coming. USB tuners offer the convenient option of viewing DTV signals on a laptop. One problem with all of these options is that battery life on these portable DTV sets and laptops is likely to be limited.
When analog broadcasting was shut off in Wilmington, NC last year, Winegard provided a simple solution to the portable TV transition problem. It offered a battery pack option for its RCDT09A DTV converter box (opens in new tab). The RC-BP9V battery pack will power the converter for up to 18 hours using six alkaline “D” cells. This should be sufficient to match the battery life on most battery-operated analog portable TV sets. If it isn't, Winegard's RC-12DC allows the converter to be powered from a 12 volt receptacle in a vehicle.
While this combination certainly is not pocket size, it provides an alternative to a new portable DTV receiver or a laptop and USB tuner when the power is off. This capability should be valuable to viewers in areas such as those recently affected by ice storms or other natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes.
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