Originally Posted by Jim1348
I stopped by Radio Shack at the Maul of America this afternoon and I had them pull this out of the back room. Needless to say, even after a couple of scans we could not get any ATSC channels inside the mall. It does look interesting and at $99.99 it very well may be the least expensive and smallest digital TV for the US market to date. There are four reviews at the time of this posting and they are favorable. I did note that it claims it will work for 2 hours on 4 AA batteries.http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...gs#showReviews
Jim1348 and all -
I live in Southern New Hampshire. Ever since I heard of the analog to digital nationwide switchover - what, 4 years ago or so? - I've been focused on trying to plan for the digital future. I learned that 19 million (!) people in the U.S. have portable, handheld, replaceable battery-operated TVs which they especially use in emergencies such as power outages. We have lost power here for 4-5 consecutive days twice in the last three winters.
As I studied the fact that there were few, if any options, for portable, handheld, replaceable battery-operated DIGITAL TVs it confirmed my concern that we don't seem to plan for anything in the U.S. these days, or so it seems. While so many folks were focused on the switchover to digital for their home TVs and HDTVs I'll bet millions have yet to realize that, next emergency, their "lifeline" analog TV will not work.
A few years ago I wrote to Harris Communications several times when I realized that they had a technology called "Exciter" aka MP/H or MPH (Mobile, Personal, Handheld) that they could sell to TV stations. The idea was when their technology was backed by LG and Samsung in the form of new, special chipsets in new special handheld digital (ATSC) TVs we would be able to have mobile battery-powered TVs that would work while one was in motion. Fantastic I thought! But here it is December, 2009 and neither Harris nor LG nor Samsung have any products they've announced that will work as plain ATSC and the new ATSC+ A/153 spec that Harris has just gotten approved. (See, below, the article.) If anyone has heard anything solid about any of this, I'd love to know.
Now, in the interim, and based on the buzz here, I got a 3.5" AUVIO Portable Digital TV from Radio Shack. (I had wanted the 7" AUVIO but the Li-Poly battery meant that keeping batteries feeding the unit during an power outage was out of the question. This is also a deal-killer with most 7" digital TVs. Is no manufacturer thinking about people who have lost their power?)
I loved just about everything about this unit. Nice, clear picture, Closed Captioning that worked very well, nice menu system. The antenna was, as folks have pointed out, very flimsy but not a deal killer in my mind, I just need to be cautious pulling it out and pushing it back in so as not to bend anything. Nevertheless, I reluctantly returned it this morning. Why? I couldn't get our biggest TV station - WMUR. The transmitter is only 21.9 miles from my home (as the crow flies) but "Channel 9" didn't register through Auto-Search or manually - didn't show up whether I stood outside the home or inside on the second story. As far as I know there is little in the way of hills or mountains blocking the signal. Furthermore, I am (as the crow flies) 40 miles north of Boston and could only sporadically get Channels 4 and 5 but there was no Channel 7. Now, this leads me to some questions for some of you who are familiar with digital TV transmissions.
1) Is the problem the fact that the tuner itself is not sensitive enough?
2) If the antenna were a) longer b) thicker, more robust, would this have made a difference in the signal the unit was receiving?
3) Is over-the-air digital transmissions just not a priority for TV stations?
4) Are over-the-air digital transmissions just to damned weak?
5) I asked the folks at Radio Shack if the 7" AUVIO might have a stronger tuner or longer antenna. They said, "No" - (battery type issue, aside). Will I continue to experience the same problems no matter what handheld digital, battery-powered TV I get? Or would it be worth my while to even try other products by other companies? (I gave up the notion of trying to buy anything online for fear of return headaches, getting hit with restocking fees, etc.)
6) For those of you like Jim1348 who are familiar with the Harris Technology, might it be wise to just wait and see what they and LG and/or Samsung cook up? (Again, see the article which follows my signoff, below.)
I'm so bummed today because I thought I finally had "the" answer in hand with the 3.5" AUVIO but having an otherwise fine unit fail to get a key station that's a mere 21.9 miles away and others with decent signals like the Boston ones is like buying a Cadillac Escalade with flat tires (or with a tree and fire hydrant attached)!
Thanks in advance for any suggestions/advice you folks might have!
ATSC ADOPTS MOBILE DIGITAL TV STANDARD
WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2009 - The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is pleased to announce the approval of A/153 ATSC Mobile DTV Standard. The ballot, tallied at midnight Oct. 15, was approved with overwhelming support by the full ATSC membership.
The ATSC Mobile DTV Standard defines the technical specifications necessary for broadcasters to provide new services to mobile and handheld devices using their digital television (DTV) transmissions. The new services for mobile and handheld devices are carried along with current DTV services without any adverse impact on legacy receiving equipment. ATSC Mobile DTV was developed to support a variety of services including free (advertiser-supported) television and interactive services delivered in real-time, subscription-based TV, and file-based content download for playback at a later time. The standard can also be used for transmission of new data broadcasting services.
"Development and adoption of the ATSC Mobile DTV Standard is a major milestone in the ongoing evolution of digital television," said ATSC President Mark Richer. "We have been fortunate to have strong and active industry support, including thousands of person-hours of technical volunteers, for this work which enabled us to develop the standard in an efficient manner."
The ATSC Mobile DTV Standard will enable broadcasters to provide new compelling services to consumers utilizing a wide array of wireless receiving devices including mobile phones, small handheld DTVs, laptop computers and in-vehicle entertainment systems.
Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, said, As a founding ATSC member, CEA congratulates ATSC on achieving this new standard, which will help chipmakers and equipment manufacturers proceed with product development and deployment. With the successful digital television transition now behind us, the ATSC Mobile DTV standard gives broadcasters an opportunity to provide consumers with the next generation of compelling over-the-air content."
"This milestone ushers in the new era of digital television broadcasting, giving local TV stations and networks new opportunities to reach viewers on the go," said Paul Karpowicz, NAB Television Board Chairman and President of Meredith Broadcast Group. "This will introduce the power of local broadcasting to a new generation of viewers and provide all-important emergency alert, local news and other programming to consumers across the nation."
ATSC Chairman Glenn Reitmeier added: "On behalf of the ATSC Board of Directors, I would like to congratulate all of the ATSC member companies that contributed to this major achievement. The ATSC Mobile DTV standard is flexible and robust, enabling a range of services business models that create new opportunities for broadcasters, device makers and consumers. It is particularly noteworthy that ATSC Mobile utilizes Internet Protocol (IP), which will enable broadcast services to be easily integrated with wireless broadband consumer devices and applications, further reinforcing the significant role of terrestrial television broadcasting in the media landscape for decades to come."
ATSC Mobile DTV is built around a highly robust transmission system based on Vestigial Side Band (VSB) modulation, with enhanced error correction and other techniques to improve robustness and reduce power consumption in portable receivers, coupled with a flexible and extensible Internet Protocol (IP) based transport system, efficient MPEG AVC (ISO/IEC 14496-10 or ITU H.264) video, and HE AAC v2 audio (ISO/IEC 14496-3) coding. ATSC Mobile DTV services are carried in existing digital broadcast channels along with current DTV services without any adverse impact on legacy receiving equipment.
In addition to live television, the new ATSC Mobile DTV standard provides a flexible application framework to enable new receiver capabilities. Receivers that make use of an optional Internet connection will enable new interactive television services, ranging from audience measurement and simple viewer voting to the integration of Internet-based applications and transactions with television content.
Formal development of the ATSC Mobile DTV system began in May 2007 with the issuance of a request for Proposals (RFP). The new standard document will be available online on the ATSC Standards page.