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How to Get Portable Digital TV

Updated on August 19, 2014

Find Out What You Need to Know to Get the Best Portable TV Entertainment

Sometimes your biggest need for entertainment isn't while you're sitting in your living room. Sometimes it's when you're traveling or sitting out on the porch or deck that you really want to be able to catch a show. It's those times that you realize portability is important.

Consumers now have multiple options for getting portable digital TV. With digital signals the viewing is an improved experience but there are some things you need to know. Read further for some tips, need to know facts, and to find out about your current options from portable TVs to other common mobile devices that can provide good entertainment without tying you down.

When a Portable Digital TV is Perfect

A portable digital TV is ideal when weather renders your other TV useless. These portable televisions often operate off of battery power and can be used when no other set in the house will function.

Of course they're handy too if you merely want a TV you can easily relocate to another room and enjoy by yourself while everyone else is watching the big game.

With their small size they're also ideal for travel. Whether using them to entertain the kids, taking on a picnic in the park, or across the country on a business trip they allow you to view the shows you don't want to miss.

An Important Note When Searching for a Portable TV

If you're out searching for a portable TV be sure that it has a digital tuner; or what is called an ATSC tuner. There are older models on the market that can receive analog signals only. With all broadcasters in the US switching to digital signals in 2009, these televisions with analog only tuners will not be able to display the digital signals without a converter box. Obviously adding a converter box would make a handheld portable TV much less attractive as a portable option!

The number of portable digital TV models on the market at this time is relatively small and finding a handheld digital TV is particularly difficult. We have most of the available models below but if you don't find one you want, there are other other options.

Find a Portable Digital TV

Retailers Best Buy and Radio Shack also offer their own portable digital TV at this time. The Radio Shack TV is a 5" screen and has a rechargeable battery while the Best Buy TV has a 7" screen. Here is another option.

Things to Remember

Here are a couple of things to think about before deciding on a portable digital TV or any other form of portable TV.

PortabilityThink about how you will use this TV. Clearly a 2 to 3.5 inch screen is the most portable. These devices are truly handheld and cell phones and iPods make good choices in these instances. However, if the device will be used to sit on a table or counter to enjoy a larger view then the larger portable options with 5 to 8 inch screens are a better choice. A portable digital TV, portable media player with digital tuner, or laptop is the better option in this case.Battery power

Consider battery life and the expense of keeping your device running. Clearly rechargeable batteries offer an advantage and devices that also have the option of using electricity have greater flexibility and longer viewing times. Devices that use 12 volt electricity are great for use in RVs and other vehicles.


Some devices come with an external antenna to boost reception. If not you may need to consider the purchase of an antenna depending on where you'll be using your portable digital TV.


If you'll be watching TV in public areas or a shared space, earphones are clearly a must. If your device doesn't come with earphones, then you'll need to consider purchasing them separately so be sure it has the appropriate inputs. Noise canceling headphones are particularly nice in assuring good audio.

Getting Portable Digital TV: The Other Options

Many of us on the go live a "digital lifestyle" which makes getting portable TV much easier despite the limited number of portable digital TV models on the market.

Other options for getting digital TV include PDA's and smart phones. Clearly you would want one with a good screen, a good data plan, and a cellular provider that offers mobile TV such as Verizon or AT&T.

Another option exists for those with a Notebook or laptop. Using a USB dongle with digital tuner, they can watch digital TV as well wherever they go. It's anticipated that portable DVD players will eventually begin incorporating digital TV tuners as well. They exist in China, but to date there aren't any really on the market in the US.

Of course some portable media players do allow you to stream movies and TV shows that are recorded on your set-top box. An example is the Archos Wi-Fi media player with Dish Network Plug-in featured below. In addition, DirectTV made SAT-Go and DISH Network had PocketDISH which were their own branded portable media players. These are still available in very limited quantities.

Photo Credits

Introduction: Powerbooktrance.

When a Portable Digital TV is Perfect: x_jamesmorris.

The Other Options: dushaun. (no derivative work allowed)

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Cannot find info and I'm not tech blessed. Portable digital TV for use in emergency situations: signal/reception not good anyway; if TV connected to cable service, will cable still work if power out?

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 8 years ago from Vermont

      Wow, this is cool info - I was hoping I could do something like this. Now all I need to do is see if the signal can get to me at home or on the road.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      This is so great! Now I can watch TV while building Squidoo lenses on my laptop while racing down the highway during rush hour and talking on the phone...I have arrived! (Just kidding...) As always, your lenses give concise, relevant info so we can make the right decisions. Thanks, mulberry! 5*s and a blessing. :)