Monday, May 19, 2008
Carmel on the Case: TV Trouble
Hurricane season is just weeks away and a key supply is a battery operated TV, so you can keep track of storms when the power goes out, but, as Carmel Cafiero reports, there may be TV Trouble brewing for people in the path of a storm.
WSVN -- Living in South Florida means living with hurricanes and learning how to prepare for them.
Jay Yeskel knows the drill. Before the season starts he gets plenty of food, water, candles, Sterno and batteries for his flashlights and portable TV.
Jay Yeskel: "This season I have my little TV, and I also have another TV I just bought that has a built-in generator, a radio and you can charge your cell phone, which is good."
Carolyn Bryant also believes a battery operated TV is a critical part of being prepared.
Carolyn Bryant: "To be able to actually see the radar and see a person and read the information at the bottom of the screen is much more comforting to me than listening to a voice in the dark."
Carmel Cafiero: "And there's no debating these battery operated TVs can be life savers, but after this hurricane season the ones most of us have are pretty much trash. That's because they operate on an analog signal, and after next year that's all going to change."
TV is going digital in February 2009.
If you don't have cable, a digital TV or a special converter box, the only thing you'll be getting off the air is snow.
Moreau Dugas, Channel 7 Engineer: "On February 17, 2009 at midnight, we will shut off anything that is analog, so it will be digital. Then you're going to need a TV that can receive digital."
But those digital converter boxes and sets need power, which means they won't help in a storm. The National Hurricane Center is already getting calls from people asking what to do.
Bill Read, National Hurricane Center: "If a television is something you want in your safety kit for a hurricane, now is the time to start shopping around."
That's just what some people are doing.
Jay Yeskel: "I hope they come out with a digital handheld TV, otherwise we'll just have to listen to the radio during a hurricane."
The good news? Some companies are already offering battery operated digital TVs.
James Deriardo: "We have a lot of people interested in these TVs. They're coming in, they're purchasing them. We are keeping a nice stock of them in stores."
And other retailers expect to have them on store shelves shortly. The bad news? Making the switch isn't cheap. Most run about $200.
Carolyn Bryant: "I'm one to kind of watch the sales and the prices go down, and I find $200 to be out of my price range for something like that."
Hopefully, the price will drop so there isn't TV trouble for storm season 2009.
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