10/2/2008 — UPDATE to this question: There is now a battery-powered converter box. Read the post, “50% more coupons available for digital TV converter box program”
Question: Will my portable TV not work after Feb. 2009?
Gadgetress: Nope. You’re out of luck.
**UPDATE** WineguardDirect.com now sells a battery-powered converter box.**
My initial research shows that nearly every portable TV will need a converter box because they are analog TVs. And everyone should know by now that on Feb. 17, 2009, TV broadcasts for the major channels will switch to digital only, leaving analog TV viewers in the dark. But you don’t need to get rid of your TV — you just need to buy and install a digital converter box. Lots of info on that at “Guide to the Digital TV transition.”
The lone exception to ditching the TV is the portable TV. There are no battery-operated converter boxes available and no manufacturer has stepped up to make such a product. It’s probably because the portable TV market is so small, no one can make any money developing such converters.
This is quite sad for many folks out there who rely on portable TVs for news during emergencies. Guess you’ll have to rely on TV on your cell phone during those tough times.
However, there are portable TVs that have the digital tuners built in, but that will set you back at least $200. There’s the Accurian 7″ Portable Handheld TV sold at Radio Shack and the 8.4-inch one at LCDigital in Newport Beach for $349.
I did find a site that explains how to connect a portable TV to a converter box, but it doesn’t look simple. Plus, it will no longer be portable. But here’s the link: ezdigitaltv.com/Old_Portable_TV.html
And officially, on the government’s DTV website, it does address portable TVs. I cut and pasted the answer below:
|Portable, battery-powered analog televisions may be able to receive over-the-air programming after February 17, 2009 if they are connected to a digital-to-analog converter box. Because battery powered digital-to-analog converter boxes are not currently available, an external power source would also be required. If local utility power service is not available, an external battery power station or an emergency power generator may be able to supply the necessary power for the converter box.Also, portable, battery-powered digital televisions are coming onto the market. If your portable television contains labels or markings with the words “Integrated Digital Tuner,” “Digital Tuner Built-In,” “Digital Receiver,” or “Digital Tuner,” “DTV,” “ATSC,” or “HDTV Built-In”, then you should be able to view digital over-the-air programming without the need for a digital-to-analog converter box. Please check with an electronics retailer for availability and further information on these products.|
Related stories on portable TVs:
Past Gadgetress stories on the digital TV transition: