The coolest thing I saw at NAB 2014 this year? Tablet Television – a neat consumer TV product that’s sort of the anti-Aereo. Not only does it turn mobile devices into real TVs, it’s coming from an interesting alliance of companies.
First the features. Smaller than a deck of cards, this little device includes two ATSC tuners, a wifi hub, 4 gigabytes of storage and the smarts to convert over the air TV signals into a WiFi stream of bits inside the house. Turn it on, load the android or IOS app on your tablet or smartphone, and suddenly your favorite mobile device turns into a TV.
Although it’s limited to WiFi – which means it’ll only work at home or in the office – it’s far superior in quality to the ATSC-M/H mobile broadcast standard which was designed to support mobile/handheld with a sub 480i image.
The device also includes 4 gigabytes of on-board storage for basic DVR functionality, and can be expanded via a mini-SD slot to 64Gigabytes or more.
It’s a nifty device that could really turn our tablets into TVs. Due out in September, the device on display featured a rough interface, and only supported a single device at a time. Pricing has yet to be determined, but it’ll likely be in the $100 range, with no additional fees for watching over-the-air broadcast. The company plans on offering premium services, such as Netflix and Hulu Prime, although they had nothing to announce at the show.
Built by Motive Television, a UK-based creator of mobile video services, it’s a slick solution. But even if they don’t make a dime on premium services, it’ll still be a win for Motive’s partner, Granite Broadcasting Corporation – which owns 14 local TV stations around the country. As a sort of “anti-Aereo”, this device will let Granite control how its signals are consumed by consumers, not a disruptive third party.
Although the company only plans to create apps for Android and iOS, when I suggested Roku, FireTV and AppleTV, the developer got that far away look and said, “hmmm, I hadn’t thought about that”. I hope they do, it would make the device far more useful!
I’m excited to see how this product works – and who knows. Maybe you’ll even be able to watch Revision3, TestTube, Animalst and Sourcefed on the service as well!