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Posts Tagged ‘broadcast’

I remember it well: standing in the Sharper Image store debating between a three-day Bushnell wireless weather forecaster featuring AccuWeather forecasts and an Oregon Scientific model alongside it that offered more detailed information from a competing service provider, MSN Direct. Both weather stations did something unique: They didn’t require owners to hook up outdoor sensors that generate fickle forecast icons based purely on barometric pressure as opposed to a bona fide regional weather forecast. These weather forecast alternatives, unlike the vast majority of weather gadgets on the market, receive a radio signal that automatically displays forecast data from a genuine weather service.

For a weather junkie or just about anyone who doesn’t want to watch several minutes of TV, boot up a computer or drain a battery on a smartphone merely to check the weather, having weather alerts, pollen counts, humidity and UV Index information at a single glance at no cost beyond that of the device itself seems almost too good to be true. And, in hindsight, it was too good to be true. For those of us who chose wrong, the convenience was not to last. MSN Direct, the service provider for Oregon Scientific-branded weather units, powered down its US and Canadian network of FM radio transmitters on January 1, 2012. And yet, weather watchers were not the only ones to lose. MSN Direct broadcast a variety of data including traffic information, gasoline prices, Doppler weather maps, news, stocks, local events, movie listings to a variety of devices, all of which began with the debut of Microsoft’s novel “Spot” wristwatch in 2004.

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If you own a DVD or VHS recorder purchased before March 2007 it may contain an analog “NTSC” tuner. Why does that matter? Because when the FCC’s long-anticipated analog-to-digital deadline arrives June 12, 2009, your DVD recorder or VCR may not work the way you are accustomed to: set the program, load a blank DVD or VHS tape and let the recorder’s built-in timer tune to the station on which the program airs. That’s not the only change consumers should anticipate, either. As of February 17, 2009, cable subscribers who do not have high definition television sets or compatible recording devices will either end up with a temporary analog feed, effective through February 17, 2012, or an all-digital feed necessitating digital-to-analog conversion boxes designed for cable subscribers who use analog components.

If all this sounds confusing, it gets worse.

After the switchover, those who intend to use a DVD, DVR or VCR recording device containing an analog tuner in conjunction with a newer HDTV or HD-enabled satellite or cable box may be in for more heachaches than anticipated. Depending on a component’s date of manufacture and whether or not a digital-to-analog converter is used, the option to record onto an analog-style device may no longer exist. (more…)

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