Morning show

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Dear President Obama:

One of the first gadgets I ever owned is soon to be collateral damage when the government mandates the shutdown of analog TV signals next month.

For over two decades, my Sharp 3T-57 - a three-inch black-and-white TV/AM-FM clock radio - has dutifully stood by my bedside. Manufactured before DTV was conceived, there's no possible connection for a digital converter box to save my old analog friend from the trash heap.

But as you say, sir, we must look forward, not back.

So I found a replacement gadget this weekend. The iHome iP99 ($130 at Best Buy) is my new bedside companion. My iPhone 3G docks on top of the unit (inserts accommodate almost any iPhone or iPod) where it can recharge while giving me access to all of my music, videos and apps.

The iP99 is a clock radio and audio system (TV is no longer part of the mix) with lots of cool features that almost make me forget my old pal from Sharp.

This new gadget has two alarm settings that can be programmed differently for work days and days off. They can wake me to custom iPod playlists, radio or a buzzer. The iP99 also has a built-in equalizer and 10-watt stereo speakers.

The unit shields the mobile phone so it doesn't make annoying noises through the speakers. Unlike other products of this type, I shouldn't have to put my docked iPhone in airplane mode and miss incoming calls.

Forget about flashing "12:00" - the iP99 can automatically set the correct time. And if the power at your home ever goes out, it has a battery back-up.

There's also a line-in jack which I use to connect the first XM satellite radio I bought back in 2001. The radio has a remote control that operates the iP99 as well as all of the iPhone's menus.

Mr. President, now that I've made the switch to my iP99, I no longer watch TV in the morning.

How's that for an unintended consequence? I lose my analog TV signal and the local stations lose a morning viewer. That doesn't seem right.

Got a gadget question or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail