Remember the Sony Watchman? Clunky, awkward and analog, the device was nonetheless a popular way to catch can't-miss television when you were away from home.
Now Qualcomm has unveiled a high-tech digital version of that old clunker, a sleek gadget about the size of an iPhone that receives broadcast television signals on the company's proprietary network.
Called Flo TV Personal Television, the device itself will cost $249.99. The Flo TV service then starts at $8.99 per month, and will initially include as many as 40 channels — though in our hands-on testing with a not-quite-final version of the product, the device carried fewer than 10 stations. The company claims that it will stream live sports and news, full-length dramas, comedies, and more, both simulcast with standard TV broadcasts and time-shifted.
The Flo TV service is currently available on select cell phones from Verizon as well, but it's never been offered in a dedicated device before. Bill Stone, president of the FLO TV division, explains that “we've heard from customers that they want more choice and, specifically, a device that is easy to share with friends and family. With the FLO TV service available on mobile handsets, in-car entertainment systems and consumer electronics devices like FLO TV Personal Television, FLO TV offers something for every kind of consumer on-the-go.”
The FLO TV Personal Television has a touch-screen for navigation, letting you channel surf with just a swipe of your finger. It also includes a built-in stand to positioned it upright on any flat surface, built-in stereo speakers, and the ability to set a reminder for your favorite program.
The device has a 3.5-inch diagonal screen and weighs just over 5 ounces. Its battery should last for more than 5 hours of viewing, or 300 hours standby.