By Andrew Liszewski
The digital switchover put a lot of analog TV sets out of commission, but for years and years prior to that day new sets sold had to include digital tuners. So I think a good majority of the TVs in use around the country were ok once it happened. That wasn’t the case with handheld TVs though. Classics like my good old Sony Watchman were instantly rendered unusable, and until recently there really weren’t any alternatives for people who preferred watching broadcast TV on a portable device, instead of streamed or downloaded media which is far more popular these days.
But RCA hasn’t given up on us yet. At NAB they’ve just announced a new family of portable TVs that are compatible with standard digital TV broadcasts as well as the newer Mobile DTV format which is being rolled out across the country. Not to be confused with portable media players, these devices are only designed to tune in local broadcasts as far as I can tell, and are completely lacking in any storage or media slots for playing downloaded content. But as a result of their minimal functionality, they’re also pretty affordable.
The cheapest of the lot, the DMT335R (pictured in the upper left) has an MSRP of just $119 and includes a 3.5-inch LED backlit 320×240 LCD display, hybrid DTV tuner and can run for about 4 hours on a set of 4xAA batteries. At the next level is the similarly-sized DMT336R (pictured on the right) which adds color options, an FM radio tuner and a built-in rechargeable li-poly battery providing 4 hours of battery life for $159. And finally, if you prefer a big screen experience, relatively speaking, the DMT270R (pictured lower left) has a whopping 7-inch, 800×480 LCD display, all of the best features from its smaller siblings (minus the FM tuner) and a price tag of just $179.
[ RCA Mobile DTVs ]