Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment. This week's marks the column's third anniversary:
Entering the market with smaller dimensions and a lower price than television bridge products such as Apple TV and the Xbox 360, SanDisk's TakeTV is unconcerned with DHCP, WPA, SSIDs and several alphabetical dalliances of IEEE 802.11. In fact, it eschews any kind of direct home network connection, returning to that tried-and-trod transfer known as "sneakernet." Using portable physical media as a liaison between devices goes back at least to the early days of the floppy disk and was revived a few years ago by the USB flash drive.
Indeed, the latter is at a basic level the portable component of Take TV, a large, flat flash drive with four or eight gigabytes of SanDisk's trusted flash technology. The flash drive component docks into a video adapter that connects to TVs, but can take advantage only of an S-Video connection at best. When not connected to the television, it also snaps into its own minimalist remote crowned with an oversized Play button.
By design, using TakeTV is very similar to using a flash drive; simply drag and drop video files onto the flash drive component. TakeTV is a certified DivX device and also supports XVID and MPEG-4. Videos shot with a Flip Video camcorder played back perfectly. However, the popular Windows and Mac formats of WMV and H.264 are not yet supported; Apple's Leopard instructional video was not recognized.