Make us your home page

Digital TV transition makes many battery-powered TVs obsolete

Count on a battery-powered TV to get you through hurricane season power failures? Be advised it's going to be roadkill on the route to digital TV.

The radios in those old portable TV weather units will continue to work. But the TV display blinks to obsolete when the last analog TV broadcasts in the Tampa Bay area end at midnight Friday.

Oh, you could buy a converter for about $60. Or pull up to apply for a voucher from the U.S. Department of Commerce to offset some of the cost. But you still need to figure out where to plug in the converter (small TVs don't all have plugs) and rig up a power supply on a cheapie TV that most likely cost less new a few years ago than today's fix.

At the prodding of the FCC, a few TV makers finally put some small battery-powered sets on the market that meet the new digital ATSC standard. The brands — Eviant, Accurian and Haier — are not household names. Sets are in short supply and prices recently nosed below $200.

Radio Shack now stocks a compatible 4.3-inch screen with a rechargeable battery for $150. promotes a 7-inch screen for $112 including shipping.

Industry analysts don't see prices tumbling much more. That's because the market is small, a high-resolution picture means little on a tiny screen and the industry's big players are focused on technology that sells multiple products.

"As opposed to a stationary set, they're concentrated on creating a new mobile broadcast standard (for portable cellular, laptop and DVD players found in the rear seats of vehicles) that should be on the market in a year or two," said Ross Rubin, who tracks consumer electronics for NPD Group.

Indeed, most Florida discount stores and supermarkets that once sold battery-powered TVs this hurricane season only carry weather radios.

"We're pushing NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radios as a replacement because they cost less than $30," said Mike Stone, a spokesman for state Department of Emergency Management. "AM and FM radio still are the fastest information sources to restore in a disaster."

For those who find little comfort listening to voices in the dark, progress must seem like two steps forward, one step back.

• • •

Recent seasonal closings at some miniclinics operating inside drugstores are not a sign the low-cost alternative staffed by nurse practitioners is in retreat. The two big players locally will add services to expand their business model later this month.

Located inside Walgreens stores, Take Care Clinics will add skin tag and wart removal, treatment for rash, allergic skin reactions and animal and tick bites and, at seven locations, test infusion and injection treatments for chronic sufferers of osteoporosis and asthma. The infusion and injection therapies must be under orders from the patient's regular doctor.

Minute Clinics, which operate in CVS stores, are adding $30 sports physicals, tuberculosis tests and treatment for motion sickness and minor sprains. Later this month they add infusion treatments through nebulizers for mild asthma.

"We aren't going away," said Jayne Pratt, Minute Clinic operations manager in the bay area. "Doctors feel less threatened by us when they realize we supplement them by being open nights and weekends."

• • •

Casting calls for amateur inventors hoping to catch a break on HSN through Kelly Ripa's Mom Inc. reality TV series start this month in New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Details on how to audition for the series slated to air on TLC in the winter can be found at

Producers at Ripa and her husband Mark Consuelos' Milojo Productions hope to tell stories of moms turning their brainstorms into moneymakers on HSN, the TV shopping channel based in St. Petersburg.

Audition instructions suggest candidates not wear black-and-white outfits. They may be trend right. But they don't look good on TV.

Mark Albright can be reached at or (727) 893-8252.

Digital TV transition makes many battery-powered TVs obsolete 06/08/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 8, 2009 8:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Starbucks to close all Teavana locations, including five in Tampa Bay


    Local Teavana locations include Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg, International Plaza and Westfield Citrus Park in Tampa, Brandon and Clearwater.

    Starbucks announced Thursday plans to shut down all 379 Teavana stores, citing "underperformance." Starbucks acquired the mall-based tea chain for $620 million in 2012. [ CANDICE CHOI | AP file photo]
  2. Trigaux: Closing Iron Yard coding school hits area tech hard but leaders talk of options


    The coming shutdown this fall of the Iron Yard software coding school in downtown St. Petersburg — announced this month as part of a national closing of all 15 Iron Yard locations — remains a shocking event to a Tampa Bay technology community that dreams big of becoming a major player in the Southeast if not …

    In better days last fall, friends and family of graduates at The Iron Yard, based in the Station House in downtown St. Petersburg, applaud during "Demo Day" when grads of the coding school show off their skills. Despite the local success and strong job placement by the coding school, The Iron Yard is closing all of its 15 locations across the country this summer. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. U.S. economy gathers steam in second quarter


    WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy revved up this spring after a weak start to the year, fueled by strong consumer spending. But the growth spurt still fell short of the optimistic goals President Donald Trump hopes to achieve through tax cuts and regulatory relief.

    A government report released Friday showed economic output picked up in the second quarter. 
[Associated Press file photo]
  4. Founder of Tampa home sharing platform questions Airbnb, NAACP partnership


    TAMPA — A Tampa rival to Airbnb, which was launched because of discrimination complaints on the dominant home sharing platform, has concerns about the new partnership between Airbnb and NAACP announced this week.

    Rohan Gilkes poses for a portrait at his home and business headquarters in Tampa. 

Innclusive, a Tampa-based start-up, is a home-sharing platform that focuses on providing a positive traveling experience for minorities. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  5. Appointments at Port Tampa Bay and Tampa General Medical Group highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Port Tampa Bay announced that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. Sowell, a former member of the U.S.Marine Corps, will support internal, external and special projects, assist the executive team with management oversight and serve as a liaison on a variety of port …

    Port Tampa Bay announced this week that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. [Handout photo]