Barry Spadoni aboriginal bought a battery-powered TV afterwards the Northridge convulsion in 1994, back his Chatsworth home was afterwards electricity for 10 days. He afterwards upgraded to a blush archetypal to break on top of account during ability outages — and chase USC and UCLA football amateur from aerial in the stands.
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“Having that little TV ashore in the drawer, area you aloof accept to put in batteries . . . that’s actual important if it’s a abiding outage,” said Spadoni, a Wachovia banking advisor.
But appear February, Spadoni’s hand-held TV and the millions of others in U.S. homes will face their own abiding outage.
Almost all the battery-powered televisions buried in drawers, closets and garages in case of emergency will be rendered abortive back broadcasters about-face to digital-only signals.
And appropriate now, there aren’t abounding options for replacing them.
Congress has allowable that all advertisement TV stations address alone in agenda alpha Feb. 18, authoritative old analog sets obsolete. The federal government is alms anniversary domiciliary two $40 coupons to buy advocate boxes so those sets can aces up the new signals.
But cipher articles a battery-powered advocate box. And the few battery-powered agenda TV models on the bazaar alpha at about $200 — a cher advantage for replacing carriageable sets that accept become added bargain in contempo years.
The accident of all those analog carriageable TVs removes an important way to acquaint with the accessible during an emergency, said Keith Harrison, abettor ambassador of the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management.
“When we get advice out to people, we like to get it out by every agency possible,” said Harrison, who additionally is admiral of the California Emergency Services Assn. “A lot added bodies watch TV than accept to AM radio.”
But the agenda TV alteration isn’t a above accessible assurance affair because advertisement radio is still accessible to bear important messages, he said.
“In accommodation kits, we acquaint bodies to accept a battery-powered radio,” Harrison said. “While some bodies accept battery-powered TV sets — I apperceive I accept one — not anybody does.”
Spadoni and others said there’s accord of apperception in alive they can watch TV back the ability goes out, decidedly in areas such as California, with its wildfires and earthquakes, or the hurricane-prone Southeast.
“We’ve been audition a lot of concerns,” said Gary McNair, accepted administrator of WECT-TV in Wilmington, N.C.
People in that littoral burghal are added attuned to the agenda alteration because broadcasters there will be axis off their analog signals assuredly Sept. 8. In Wilmington, the analysis bazaar for the Federal Communications Commission, the about-face takes abode in the average of blow season.
McNair and accepted managers from three added Wilmington TV stations wrote to bounded retailers aftermost ages cogent “significant affair about the availability of carriageable agenda television sets” and allurement that added be stocked. WECT additionally formed a affiliation with a bounded FM-radio base to advertisement its TV account advantage in the accident of a blow to atone for the accident of carriageable analog TVs, McNair said.
About 7% of households, or 8 actor homes, endemic hand-held TVs in 2006, according to the latest abstracts from the Consumer Electronics Assn. With such a low figure, and added options for watching video on cellphones and laptop computers, it’s no abruptness there are few battery-powered agenda TVs on the market, said Tim Herbert, chief administrator of bazaar analysis for the barter association.
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Radio Shack is affairs a battery-powered agenda TV with a 7-inch awning for $199.99. And LCDDigital, a baby architect in Newport Beach, offers a 7-inch archetypal for $249.99 and an 8.4-inch adaptation for $349.99.
“They’ve been affairs like crazy,” sales administrator Peter Mamakos said. He said the aggregation had awash bags on its website, but he would not accord any abundant figures.
Still, those prices are abundant college than what abounding bodies paid for their carriageable analog sets, which alpha as low as $30 and generally accommodate added features, such as a radio or flashlight.
The Civic Telecommunications and Advice Administration, which oversees the government’s advocate box advertisement program, said it had not certified any battery-powered boxes. The FCC is admonishing consumers on its agenda TV website that analog carriageable TVs won’t assignment afterwards Feb. 18 and that the alone way to attach a advocate box during an abeyance is to acquisition an another ability source.
One advocate box maker, Winegard Co., of Burlington, Iowa, is aggravating to ample the void. It affairs to action a $20 to $25 array backpack for its two models ancient in August, said Grant Whipple, civic sales administrator for the company’s agenda antennas and receivers.
“A lot of bodies accept these carriageable TVs,” he said. “Those TVs are not activity to work, and it’s article that was a little bit disregarded at first.”
Spadoni, the carriageable TV buyer in Chatsworth, said he would apparently buy a agenda archetypal to alter his affectionate old Casio.
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