I’m not the biggest fan of watching TV on a tablet or cell phone. I know that people do it, but I still prefer the more traditional experience of a large television or even a decent computer screen. So normally the announcement of the new Belkin Wireless Dyle Mobile TV Receiver would not be all that interesting. However, I live in Houston, at the receiving end of Hurricane Alley. Such a device could be a handy item to have on-hand in a powerless, post-hurricane situation.
This little device mates to the 30-pin connector on suitable Apple devices. That includes the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad, iPad 2, or iPad (3rd generation) allowing you to receive local TV signals without any 3G, 4G or Wifi connection. It retails for $129.
Of course, to be useful the Dyle signals must be available over-the-air in your area. That’s true for most major cities in the US. There is a web site that lets you check your location by zip code.
Looking back a few years to the time after Hurricane Ike, local TV news was a important source of information. When we were without power for tend days we lived on an 8 KW generator shared with our neighbor.
That situation highlighted the need to conserve power, using only the essential things around the house. We initially ran the refrigerator, lights as required, our core network components and a laptop.
Our core network components (IP phones, DSL modem, switch & router) were lower power devices, buffered from the generator by a UPS. Drawing only 90 watts the laptop was preferable to a desktop that would draw 600-1000 watts. The laptop battery & power supply also served to isolate it from the variability of the generators power.
We were fortunate that while our Comcast connection was down for many weeks, our DSL circuit remained in service.
As the days without power wore on, and we better understood the nature of the electrical load we presented, we eventually started to use our HDTV. We even had the laptop connected to the TV so that we could watch DVDs and Netflix streams. Our neighbors kids were certain that we still had cable service since they could see things on our HDTV.
Of course, some people will just take the Belkin tuner to the baseball game to be able to watch the broadcast coverage from the cheap seats. Whatever the case, it seems like a potentially useful device.
Hurricane season is almost upon us. Are you ready?