Monday, October 18, 2004


Chris van Rossman had been using his 20" Toshiba TV with built-in DVD, VCR and CD player for about a year. Since he wasn't subscribed to either cable or satellite feeds, he didn't use it much, except to watch PBS kid's shows. It seems that the TV decided that it wanted a bit more attention.

Chris was watching TV one evening, when he had a knock at his door. Standing there was a Corvallis police officer, a Benton County Sheriff's deputy, and a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) radio locator team. It seems that the TV decided to start broadcasting on 121.5 MHz, the international emergency frequency. When the signal began, it was immediately picked up by monitoring satellites, and relayed to the USAF Rescue and Recovery Coordination Center, who in turn alerted the CAP, who in turn coordinated with the local authorities. All of whom ended up at Chris's door. Mr. van Rossman was advised to turn off the TV, or face a $10,000 fine for broadcasting a false distress call.

Maybe he should subscribe to cable after all.

Update 10/19: Toshiba has stepped forward, and offered to pony up a new TV. Presumably one without broadcast capabilities. This story brings new meaning to the concept of "interactive TV."


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