One of the often overlooked aspects of the analog-to-digital TV transition is that the vast majority of portable TVs have an analog tuner and won't be able to receive signals after the big switch on February 17, 2009. Earlier this year, we wrote a blog titled, "Don't buy a portable TV this year" to warn consumers about the coming switch, plus the fact that the FCC had stated that it didn't expect any battery-powered DTV converters to be released. Well, that prediction was a little off the mark, as we recently posted our review of … Read more
Way back at CES 2008, Dish Network announced a DTV converter box called the TR-40 that was going to cost $40, include an electronic program guide and it seemed like it was going to be a simple, cheap choice for buyers looking to handle the upcoming analog-to-digital TV transition. Shortly afterward, the TR-40 became the DTVPal and the price went up to $60. Then the TR-40 CRA came out, which was exactly the same as the DTVPal, except it cost $40. And, as of now, you can buy both products from the DTVPal Web site, essentially giving you the option … Read more
At a hearing on the impending DTV transition Tuesday, Senator Daniel Inouye, chairman of the Commerce Committee, warned that the loss of analog over-the-air TV reception, occurring just 29 days into a new presidential administration, might spell trouble for a country already beset by the financial crisis.
"While federal agencies and industry have stepped up their efforts, I continue to be concerned that they are not fully prepared for the flood of coupon requests and calls that we can expect just before and after the transition," said the senator, a Democrat from Hawaii. "As the current administration winds down, both agencies must remain vigilant so that the next administration does not inherit a communications crisis."
Referring to test of the DTV switchover conducted two weeks ago, Inouye wasn't encouraged. "As the recent test in Wilmington, North Carolina, demonstrated, even with a Herculean investment of time and resources that will be impossible to replicate throughout the rest of the country, consumers made thousands of phone calls seeking help with various aspects of the transition. On a national level, this may translate to millions of calls. Unless more is done, February 17, and 18, and 19, will be very long days indeed."… Read more
There are a lot of DTV converter boxes on the market now, and while they all look pretty similar from the outside, there can be significant differences in their features and performance. The Magnavox TB100MW9, widely available at Wal-Mart, is one of the more basic converter boxes we've reviewed, lacking extra features such an advanced electronic program guide, analog pass-through, or S-Video output. While we could live without the extra features, we had a harder time struggling with the poorly designed remote. That being said, the TB100MW9 does do a good job with the DTV basics, as it pulled … Read more
To hear digital audio it has to be converted to analog. The chip that does that is called a digital-to-analog converter, and there's one in your iPod, computer, and CD, DVD, and Blu-ray players.
Thing is, the quality of the conversion has everything to do with the sound quality you hear. That's why audiophiles pay big bucks for the best ones, and Chord Electronics, a British high-end stalwart has just released the QBD76, which contains a real contender for world's best digital-to-analog converter (DAC) chip.
Chord Electronics are used in top studios, including Skywalker Sound, Abbey Road, … Read more
If you were wondering whether the DTV transition was really coming in 2009, the recent early test in Wilmington, N.C. should convince you that there won't be any push backs this time. That means that if you're getting your TV using free, analog over-the-air signals, you should start looking at DTV converter boxes before the big switch on February 17, 2009.
The Apex DT250 is a pretty interesting converter box because it includes several features missing form many competitors--S-Video output, a "Smart Antenna" port and analog pass-through. We were even more impressed when started watching … Read more
Let's get the facts out first. Dish Network is now selling a "new" DTV converter box, called the TR-40 CRA, which will sell for $40 and is exactly the same as the currently released DTVPal. And that's not just our editorial spin--we've confirmed with Dish Network that the hardware and feature set is exactly the same, and Dish Network lays it out clearly on its DTVPal Web site. Even more confusingly, you can still order both models from the same online order form--effectively giving you the option of whether you'd like to pay … Read more
When owners of Bugatti's freshly revealed uber-car, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport, want to get some sunshine, they have to leave the removable polycarbonate hard top at home. But what happens in the event of sudden rain? Surely, Bugatti's engineers don't expect the world's motoring elite to futz around in the rain with a fabric top? As it turns out they do, but with a clever solution fitting a removable soft top has never been easier.
Stowed in the trunk (which, on the mid-engine Veyron, is located up front), the soft top opens and functions … Read more
While most American TV watchers and broadcasters are preparing for (fretting over) the long-planned DTV transition in February 2009, broadcasters along the U.S. southern border are requesting an exemption from shutting down their analog broadcasts--up to five years after the deadline. The House of Representatives, according to an article by HD Guru, has already passed the DTV Border Fix Act bill by unanimous consent.… Read more