After renders and box shots, FLO TV is officially airing its Personal TV device (or PTV). The 3.5-inch player broadcasts live terrestrial digital TV. But $US250 along with a $US9 monthly subscription fee for just a handheld TV?!
AU: Sorry folks, this is a US-only product. -EH
The hardware, made by HTC, is pretty run of the mill. The 4.4 x 3.0 x 5.0 inch, 140-gram device didn't feel all to heavy in my hand. And I quite liked channel surfing with a finger on the capacitive touchscreen. My favourite part of the device? It has a kickstand on its back so you can prop it up on a table (none of this having to hang it with a case stuff).
The television service on the FLO TV PTV runs smoothly (it is the same thing as Verizon's VCAST, etc). And you get a ton of channels, including ESPN, Comedy Central, MTV, NBC and Nickelodeon. What you cannot do with the PTV is watch live programming on a plane or train. You also cannot record any of your shows, even though it does have 4GB of on board storage for your music or movies. So yeah, it is a bit of a dead gadget when there is no service around. And while it has a 3.5mm headphone jack, there is no video out. Balls! No chance of hooking this baby up to your monitor or HDTV.
The device itself has a suggested retail price of $US250, but the buck doesn't stop there. You also have to pay the monthly $US9 subscription fee for the service. I guess I see it being worthwhile for those that watch so much FLO TV on smaller screened mobile phones. But it seems like quite a load of money to drop on strictly a TV device, considering you can snag a phone for the same price or lower (like the new HTC Imagio which actually has the FLO TV service) or even a dedicated mobile internet device like the Android Archos 5. Though, I do see it being useful for keeping the kids quiet during a meal and oddly for watching TV in the bathroom. [FLO TV]