[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/06/13/digital.TV/art.analog.tv.gi.jpg caption="Without a converter box, satellite service or cable hook-up, analog TVs only deliver static now."]
For the Houston Chronicle
Without power for 12 days during Hurricane Ike, Houston secretary Donna Clanton relied on her battery-powered TV for news updates, road closings and notices of flooded intersections.
“Actually seeing what was happening made me feel more connected and a little less isolated,” Clanton said.
But portable sets, which played an instrumental role in connecting Houstonians to the outside world during Ike’s lengthy power outages, are now useless, thanks to the digital conversion.
Though Americans were given four extra months to prepare for the nationwide switch from analog to digital signals, the conversion date last week coincided with the advent of this year’s hurricane season, creating challenges for those like Clanton, who depend on battery-operated sets during emergencies
Because digital converter boxes are plugged into the wall, on-the-go analog TV sets won’t function during a blackout. The audio from analog TV broadcasts received on radios are now tuned out, as well.
In September, former Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin warned of a possible shortage of battery-operated digital TV equipment and called on groups such as the Consumer Electronic Association to encourage their availability.
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