DTV Transition Needs Disaster Relief
September 15, 2008 1:36 PM
I am writing this column in Tyler, Texas, as I have once again had to run from an approaching hurricane. My mom and dad, daughter, granddaughter and I (four generations of us) are here and waiting to see what kind of condition our area is in after being slammed by Hurricane Ike.
We also are wondering how long it will be before we can go home. It may be a week from now or a month—we just don't know.
The good news for us is that the hurricane levies held up against a nearly 13-foot tidal surge. The bad news is that others were not so lucky, and all four of the oil refineries in the Beaumont/Port Arthur area are shut down until the damage can be addressed and they are able to start up again. That affects us all.
Fortunately I didn't need my battery-powered TV this time, because in my haste to get packed, get the cats in carriers and load the car, I forgot to bring it. Can you believe that? But it was close. Tyler was just far enough. Just south of us in Lufkin, many are still without power tonight, so I wonder how many of them are depending on their battery-powered televisions this evening.
As I stated in one of my earlier columns, I think I have found a viable solution to that dilemma for after the transition to digital: a converter box that can be run on a battery pack that is manufactured by Winegard.
But the transition to digital needs to be monitored by those with the power to either educate the public on reception solutions for different causes of interference, as poster EmmGee-Ohio has suggested in some of the posts, or have the ability to mandate the use of new technology to address the reception problems of rural, long-distance viewers or those in urban areas that are the victims of landlords or home owner associations that put obstacles in the way of those that have the right to erect antennas to overcome multi-path or blocked signals.
Two and a half million residents of the state of Texas tonight have no power tonight, and I would bet thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, are getting information from battery- or crank-powered televisions they had in their emergency kits. That will not be an option come next hurricane season, so I hope we get it right. Remember, it could be you dealing with a disaster next time.