The Mobile DTV standard is official, sure, but the device selection at this point isn't what we'd call plentiful or even appealing -- so leave it to CES to attract a virtually unknown company with an attractive alternative. Dubbed Tivit, the pocketable box is a said to be a bit smaller and lighter than a deck of cards and claims to stream television to a number of WiFi-enabled devices, including Windows laptops, Motorola Android phones (no clue why other Android devices wouldn't be in the running here), WiFi-equipped BlackBerrys, and even iPhone 3G / third-gen iPod touch (software via related App Store download). One charge gets you three hours of reception, and while that $120 price tag isn't too terrible a fee for keeping the phone you like, when the dongle launches in Spring, it better hope the channel selection is more interesting. Press release after the break. %Gallery-81414%
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Unique "Bridge" Accessory Brings Live, Local TV to Viewer's iPhone, BlackBerry, and Laptop or Netbook Computer
Las Vegas -- January 04, 2009 / ( http://www.myprgenie.com ) -- Catching the final minutes of a big local game or an update to a breaking news story on your smartphone or laptop is now possible with the Tivit (rhymes with "trivet"), a unique accessory product that is designed to receive Mobile Digital Television signals sent by local U.S. broadcasters. Based on similar product sold in Japan that allows Wi-Fi phone users to watch TV signals, the Tivit will reach U.S. viewers as local TV broadcasters add Mobile DTV capability to their digital transmission systems. The transmission standard for Mobile DTV was just adopted by the Advanced Television Systems Committee in October, and there are currently some 30 TV stations in America broadcasting with the new standard. Many hundreds more are expected to begin simulcasts of local programs in 2010.
The Tivit is being introduced this week in the Mobile DTV TechZone of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where it is one of a dozen new Mobile DTV devices being introduced to retailers and the public. Development of the Tivit for U.S. viewers is partially funded by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) that represents more than 800 local broadcast TV stations interested in the new flavor of mobile broadcasting. OMVC is the sponsor of the CES Mobile DTV TechZone.
High-resolution photography of the Tivit is available for download at www.tinyurl.com/tivitphotos .
"We believe there is a tremendous appetite for live, local TV broadcasts, particularly if those programs could be received on a mobile device. And while it's exciting to see many devices in development for sales in the future, the beauty of the Tivit is that it works with your existing Wi-Fi smartphone or laptop. By pairing the Tivit with your Wi-Fi mobile device, it's possible to watch local digital television programs transmitted by TV stations using Mobile DTV technology. So you can catch your favorite sports teams that are covered by local stations, get updates on news and weather, and stay informed in emergency situations," said Sunny Kim, Director of Marketing for Valups, manufacturer of the Tivit and a global developer of devices that enable media consumption.
In addition to the Tivit, Valups is also introducing a Mobile DTV module (model VMA-1000L1) that can be integrated into existing consumer electronics products such as a portable DVD player, a seven-inch portable TV, and car navigation systems.
Discrete and portable, the Tivit is smaller and lighter than a deck of playing cards, at only about 2" x 3.5" in size, less than a half-inch thick, and weighing only 2.8 ounces. Battery powered and able to run for three hours of continuous TV reception, the Tivit comes equipped with a USB connection for charging and with a standard wall-plug charger.
Designed to work with 3G Apple iPhone, third-generation iPod Touch, BlackBerry devices with Wi-Fi, Motorola Android phones and Windows PCs (XP service pack 3, Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems), the Tivit receives the Mobile DTV signals from local TV broadcasters and beams the TV signal via Wi-Fi to a receiving Wi-Fi device compatible with the real-time streaming protocol (RTSP.) This protocol is mandated by the 3G cell phone industry and is commonly used on web sites today. Each Tivit can send a Mobile DTV broadcast signal to a single Wi-Fi device.
Set-up is easy: iPhone and iPod Touch owners can download the Tivit client application from the Apple App Store. BlackBerry and Laptop users can easily download the Tivit's operational software from a website. The downloaded client applications for smartphones and computers allows viewers to watch favorite broadcast TV programs, view a list of available programs, browse an electronic service guide, and change the settings of the device.
The Tivit also includes a microSD slot for a future conditional access module that could accommodate subscription-based broadcast programming.
The Tivit will be available later this spring and is expected to carry a suggested retail price under $120.