Help with TV in certain situations

I have broadband TV & Net. I need help with TV under two distinct situations. (I don’t know who else to ask, please help. I only want to post once, here, so please pass this post on if another forum would be better!)
First, I have a TV that has a coax input, and even tho I can’t run a cable line to it, I want to watch TV on it. In the past an antenna would work, but now I guess I need a digital converter &/or special antenna. What can you recommend to me for this? Is there a unit with both antenna AND digital converter together? Something that can be plugged into the wall socket OR battery powered? (Bat. cos of 2nd part:)
Second, I want something that I can watch, for long periods, during a power outage! I have a portable (bat. operated) TV w/a 3" screen, but it would need a battery operated converter & antenna. (I understand [from YouTube] that the DC kind can be “hacked” to use batteries.) Also, is there a television I can buy that runs on both power types (AC & DC), or just batteries, that also has a built-in converter/antenna, with a larger screen – 7" or so?

The first I need for a TV I’ll watch while on an exercise bike in a room with no cable access. The 2nd, I want for during blackouts – so it’ll have to have extra batteries; be ‘recharged’ by AA bats. etc. I was considering a (cheap) laptop – IF I can watch TV on it. Ex: laptop (w/bat.) + a non-powered antenna (or something). I heard there’s no way to get internet access on a laptop w/o a power source cos WiFi needs DC. IS there a way to get internet on a laptop with just batteries? (WiFi doesn't quite reach my house.)

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
:welcome: guitarbrad,

To my knowledge, no one has built a Digital to Analog Converter box that incorporates an antenna but the topic of battery powered TV sets and converter boxes has been addressed on the Forum before. Here is a link to the thread:

IF you will be able to receive OTA TV stations using an indoor antenna rather than an outdoor antenna is the next question. Please go to the TVFOOL link here: TV Fool and enter your address and antenna height, then save the resulting URL and post it for us to see. The TVFOOL website will automatically conceal your personal information. Also, there is an intensive review of indoor antennas on the Forum that may help you as well.

Regarding Internet access on a laptop without AC power --- there's always dial-up!



Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
You have come to the right place.

If you can find one, the DTV pal converter has a "wall wart" and its 12v, although it has a non - standard connector plug. It would be easy to make 12v for battery. I believe the RCA boxes can be easily hacked, I have 2 so I may try this some day.

There are some good little battery powered TV sets for about $100 OR LESS. Flat panel TV set use a lot less energy than the old CRT - tube types, so batteries should last you a while. Try google shopping or amazon. Another option if you have a newer laptop is to buy a USB tuner. They can be had for as little as $20, and as a bonus you can use it as a DVR. Just remember that the "Antenna" they give you with most of them is one step short of useless, ditto for any antenna that comes with a portable TV.

About your TV, it depends on its age as to if it has a digital tuner built in. If it was built in the last 5 years, probably. Consult your user manual, you may not need a converter box.

Follow Jim's instructions about posting your TVfool results and we can tell you how to best get your local stations.
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That is quite a list of needs, but some of them can be met, but maybe not all. There are many battery powered DTV sets available now. I have one that I like, but it is powered by 12 volts, which would mean that you would have to have a 12 volt DC source available, or use a power inverter. I am mainly addressing power outage here, and there is one model distributed by Coby that has a real good tuner in it, but it does require an antenna which uses an F type connector. It is a 10.2 inch LCD TV, and it has a real good tuner in it and I have one at home and am very pleased with its performance.

It also has the ability to be used as a computer monitor (VGA INPUT), as well as a video monitor that has composite video or A/V inputs as they are sometimes called. This is a very nice set with lots of features in that price range. We actually use them as video monitors in the TV Station where I work, and we have some that have been in continuous use for over two years without a single failure. It uses a wall wart transformer, and can be operated on automotive batteries in a power outage situation using a proper fused 12 volt cable. Here is a link to view it's features...

10.2 TFT LCD Color Digital TV/Monitor with ATSC/NTSC/QAM Tuners & Remote TFTV1022 - $219.79 :

Internet access during a power outage (As well as digital telephones like vonage or your local cable companys digital phone service) is not a likely possibility since most routers or wireless access points (WAP) will not have any power themselves, and will mostly be useless. The most likely internet access that would still be available would be DSL on the analog phone system, but that may not be easy to do unless you can power your DSL modem.

Most modems are powered by an AC to DC wall transformer (Wall Wart) transformer as is the DTV mentioned above, but most of them do not use 12 volts. It is normally around 5 volts that they require. In that situation, a power inverter that works off of a car battery would be the best choice, and it could power your WAP, as well as the DTV mentioned above, and by using an automotive battery, you would then have a way to charge it by hooking it to your car with jumper cables when the voltage gets low in the battery. Any inverter rated above 400 watts or so would normally be able to power the WAP, the DTV. as well as the laptop at the same time.
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
guitarbrad and Mr. Pogi,

I just double-checked and the DTV Pal's 'wall-wart' has a 5 volt output. From the "Battery Operated TV for use during thunderstorms" link above and Fox's duggestion of using a car battery, I think the automotive lighter power inverter would be a very fast and simple way for a non-technical person to quickly setup battery backup.

The 2nd, I want for during blackouts – so it’ll have to have extra batteries;
I have a Vizio VM190XVT. It is supplied with a wall wart that puts out 12 volts. I build a cigarette lighter adapter for use in the car. The Vizio has LED backlights, so it's very efficient if you must run it on battery power. Vizio also makes a 23" model.


Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
the DTV Pal's 'wall-wart' has a 5 volt output.
Sorry, memory fading!

As for internet staying powered, I am using a WISP connection as its the only thing I can get for broadband... unless I use cable at twice the price!

I have been in situations where I had no power, but I had cable. I don't know if it applies to internet, though, and I suspect that the power outage was localized.

I am using VOIP for phone, so it's critical that I have power to that system. I use a UPS (with the annoying power is out "BEEPER" disabled) to run the power for my WISP, wireless router, and a low power PC with my magic jack. I get a good 3 hours use WITHOUT THE MONITOR ON. A similar setup may work to power your TV in a blackout.

I have two inverters also, but I prefer to use dc power when possible. It's inefficient when you run through an inverter, and then there's the hassle of running the cable from the car to the house. I usually use the inverters to power CFL lights and other things besides TV/ Radio / Internet, although I can plug in my UPS to charge if the outage is longer than a few hours.