More information on the topics discussed below can be found on the Internet!

Custom Search

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why DTV sucks

My mom likes to watch some television when she goes to bed. She doesn't have cable in her bedroom, and doesn't have a convenient place to locate a portable TV set. A few years ago she bought a tiny handheld television. It has, maybe a two-and-a-half inch diagonal color LCD screen. It has an AC adapter but can also run on AA batteries. It can - or could - pick up many stations, including one or two cable stations, somehow. It is lightweight, portable, and convenient to use, and will be little more than a paperweight a month from today when the postponed final switchover to DTV takes place on June 12.

I knew that portable DTV sets existed ever since I saw one in a local drugstore with no price tag. But go to Best Buy, or...well, Best Buy, ask to see what they have in portable DTV sets, and they'll look at you in confusion before offering to sell you a 72" (diagonal) model. I couldn't find any other bricks-and-mortar retailers whose online counterparts claimed to have any. But I knew I wanted to get one for my mom for Mother's Day. I gave in and ordered a Haier 7" portable DTV from Amazon. After reading the reviews and recommendations, I also went out and bought a powered antenna to go with it, just in case.

My mom was happy with the gift. But I wasn't able to unbox it and set it up until yesterday. I decided to give it a shot with the included telescoping antenna.

After several frustrating attempts, I was able to pull in one whole channel. In an area served by broadcasters affiliated with ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Ion, and several other networks. I get thirteen stations across town with my powered antenna. So I guess the powered antenna is the way to go.

So. Before: Tiny, lightweight, convenient, self-contained. Could run on easily available batteries in the event of an emergency or power outage.

Now: Big. Has a cord hanging out the left side for the AC adapter, and another attached to the cable for the antenna sticking out of the right. The antenna itself is huge, requires careful aiming, and needs to be connected to electrical power in order to operate. And even then I'm not sure how many channels she'll be able to pull in. It will not be self contained by any definition of the term, nor will it be particularly convenient. Nor, with a maximum 45 minute charge capacity on the rechargeable battery, will it be very portable. (I'll have my mom keep the cigarette-lighter adapter in her car, just in case she needs it.)

I hope she can get used to this. This transition will be bumpy - and that's with me around to help her. How many little old ladies and little old men will be staring at blank screens in a month's time, wondering where their favorite shows got to?

8 comments:

Ashley said...

I hate the digital conversion. I bought a digital converter box with my coupon and it is a piece of junk. I can only get one channel. Everyone else in the house was having the same problem so we got cable.

...tom... said...

...

Our new-ish 19(?)" HDTV in a study/guest room also gets crap reception through the 'telescoping antenna'. May have to consider the 'power antenna' option ... or the hassle of stringing cable through the basement joists and up through the floor.

Progress should be from more difficult to less difficult ... not the other way around. And no, I am not a closet Luddite.


...tom...
'malydris' then 'cleoccu' then 'mednocat'

hedera said...

I'd be worried about this if we ever actually watched television. What we do is occasionally (VERY occasionally) play movies that we rent from Netflix. So I don't really give a rat's patoot how many channels it pulls in. But I agree that this is being handled very poorly indeed, and is going to cause trouble for all those little old men and women who will miss their programs.

Anonymous said...

im an idiot that fell for the bait of buying a converter box, then a 40 dollar antenna and still, NO TV. I miss ANALOG! At least I could watch a show all the way through without a frozen pic, always in middle of the good part it never fails! So Im throwing the shit in the trashcan. To hell with TV. Icertainly wont pay 70$ a month to only watch 3 channels either via cable TV. It's all such an incompetant bunch in Washington nowadays, at least my family wont have the homosexual agenda crammed down their throat via perv TV shows anymore. SAVE YOUR MONEY AND THROW YOUR TV OUT!

Anonymous said...

I bought a DTV, thinking that would solve the problem of having to mess with the coverter box...
The joke was on me. I used to get about 12 stations - now I receive NONE :(

Anonymous said...

My place does not use converter boxes, we use only set top boxes. I actually like dtv(When I get a good signal!). By the way, dtv does not suck, its the antenna everyone has got that sucks with dtv, so get rid of cable, get another converter box, and also a better antenna that works with dtv!

D.B. Echo said...

Yeah, actually I've come to like my DTV. Nice, sharp picture, and even better now that the local broadcasters have boosted their signals.

My main gripe is the lack of a good portable option for DTV. Used to be you could pick up a pocket-sized TV anywhere for under $100 (maybe way under), something you could use as an emergency TV in case of disasters involving evacuation or taking shelter. Now that option is pretty much gone. There's always radio, I suppose...

Anonymous said...

I dispise the digital conversion. I am on a disability due to health problems and cannot afford to pay for cable because of it's exorbitant cost. Even with a converter box DTV is problematic and therefore unreliable. Turn on a light switch, walk near your rabbit ears, or your neighbor's compressor turns on next door and it affects the picture. When the weather is stormy and you need to see thunder storm and/or tornado warnings--can you get decent sound or a picture? Answer: NO! Ironically, usually the commercials come in clearly! Sounds like another ploy for new tech that forgot the poor!
I have no problem receiving CBS and NBC. Fox and ABC are non-existant. PLEASE!!! give me back my snowy analog picture.