Now that television is digital, TV sets that get only broadcast signals, using rabbit ears or roof antennas — including that emergency TV you bought — won’t work.
If you have cable or satellite, you’ll get digital programming — but those could both be out after a storm.
You can get a special converter box for regular or storm TVs for about $60. Your converter will need a battery backup as well.
Some battery-operated portable digital televisions are coming on the market, but not many, and they can cost more than $100.
Your other option: radio. Radio stations will be flood you with information and many have agreements with local television station to simulcast TV broadcasts.
You might want to consider an NOAA weather radio. Storms often spawn tornadoes, often far from the eye, and a weather radio will let you know. Radios run about $40.
Tune in before, during, after a storm
Before a storm, decide if you will take down any outside antennae or satellite dishes. Some firms suggest leaving the dish, as it should handle high winds. Consider advance arrangements with a professional or your satellite provider for removal and reinstallation, but they’ll be swamped.
If you try it yourself, unplug components connected to TV and avoid power lines. Mark alignment position of dish on mounting pole to help with realignment after storm.
After the storm, do not work with antennae or dishes until it’s safe. Don’t climb on a slick ladder or wet roof or one covered with debris. Downed power lines might be live.
Inside, plug receiver back in. Make sure surge protector is on and breaker wasn’t popped. Check to see if the receiver needs to be reset; if so, follow instructions. With some, press and hold the power button for a few seconds.
Outside, check satellite dish to see if it’s been damaged or knocked out of alignment. Use marks made earlier as a reference.
You might be able to do basic steps to get a signal until the satellite firm or a qualified technician can reposition the dish.
Make sure dish has unobstructed view of the south. If necessary, adjust in small movements and have someone inside check signal strength. Receiver settings must be correct before moving dish.