Digital Transition plans to kill my portable (“pocket”) television!

Years ago I received, as a present from my parents, my very own portable television (I use the term “portable” loosely). It was great! I could study for a spelling test while watching 90201. More importantly it allowed me to feel special when the power goes out — I’m ready to watch the news!

Check it out its beautiful 1.5″ screen in its portable 5″ x 3.5″ x 1.5″ body!

Good ol' pocket tv

Unfortunately with the upcoming digital TV transition in February of 2009, this TV will most likely become a brick (it’s the perfect size to be a brick too). While it mostly sits on my shelf, it still works, so I was sad to hear of its fate. I decided to take action and email the FCC!

The FCC sent me a prompt reply (which I later found is posted in their FAQ). Here are my thoughts mixed into their reply…

FCC: “Portable, battery-powered analog televisions may be able to receive over-the-air programming after February 17, 2009″

Me: Great!

FCC: “if they are connected to a digital-to-analog converter box”

Me: Okay, I understand. But there’s something that will work? Will the converter box run on batteries too?

FCC: “an external power source would also be required”

Me: Well, that doesn’t help! What if the power goes out? Or I want to use my portable TV somewhere that doesn’t have an outlet?

FCC:  “If local utility power service is not available, an external battery power station or an emergency power generator may be able to supply the necessary power for the converter box.”

Me: …

Great! So if I want to watch TV on my “portable” television I need a converter box and a generator and that “may” work?

Will converter boxes really work through my external antenna jack that looks about 1/8″? Most likely even if it were possible, I’m not going to buy a converter and a generator for a portable TV.

But, I’m really going to miss extending my TV’s antenna to its full 22″.

Check out that antenna

My question to the FCC and you, my readers, is this: Do you have any recommendations for donating or recycling my soon-to-be-tv-brick?


I am unaware of any  battery operated converter box on the market as of yet however they are making battery powered digital portable TV’s now.  I believe Radio Shack carries one.

Identifying resources and locations for electronics recycling does not constitute EPA’s endorsement of the services.

Earth 911 Earth 911’s zip-code based search engine enables you to find recycling and reuse options in your community for a variety of products.

National Recycling Coalition This page provides links to state recycling resources. Many communities have special collection and recycling days that are highlighted on their Web sites.

My Green Electronics On this Consumer Electronics Association site, you can learn more about purchasing “green” electronic products and search for recycling opportunities.

For many working electronic products, donation is a good option because it facilitates reuse and extends the product life. However, with the switch to digital broadcasting, many charitable organizations may no longer be accepting analog TVs. Please check with the organization before you drop off your analog TV.