Here in the U.S.
we're going to lose the analog television signal in February 2008.
So, I went looking for a conversion box.
For me, the key criteria was a 12 volt input.
I found the Artec T3A, and with the government
voucher, it only cost $12. That has to be the cheapest piece of electronic
on my boat.
The Shakespeare TV antenna on the radar mast
picks up the digital signal fine. Whew.
The antenna has a 12 volt power amplifier
(the white box to the left)
which came in really useful with analog signals.
It also really helps with the digital signal. In a marina,
It seems to me that the digital signal isn't nearly as strong as the old analog signal.
The Artec T3 box is mounted upside down,
right under the TV cabinet, and
held in place with tie wraps.
It's nice and small.
It picks up nearly 40 channels,
which is 35 more than the analog setup.
It's also cool to see that many digital broadcasts are in a wide screen format.
The Artec doesn't seem to be as full featured as other units,
and I do have to manually switch the TV's aspect ratio back and forth based
on the station. However, the TV is also not as full featured as current models.
It's a few years old, and my key criteria for it was price and 12 volt input.
Everything's a compromise.
The TV was already wired for 12 or 110 Volts, so connecting the converter box was easy. I just hooked it up to the switch.
This way, I can power it from shore power if I'd like, and avoid any ground loop feedback. The power brick for the TV has enough extra amperage to feed the Artec box.
The first time I anchored out for the night,
and tried to catch the morning news,
I got a real surprise.
It was just on San Francisco Bay, less than three miles from a major metropolitan area, and had a hard time picking up a station. I guess the digital signal isn't as strong as the old analog signals.
Also, the much vaunted picture quality only happens when you have a strong signal. With a weak signal, you get pixelation and audio dropout.
With analog, the picture might have been horrible, but you could at least get an idea about what was going on.