SanDisk launches Flash video player for TVs
Online content source too
SanDisk is taking the fight to the Apple TV and the iTunes Music Store, launching this past Friday a video playback device that's connected to a telly, and a onlince content source to feed it with US TV programming.
SanDisk's Sansa TakeTV: remotely controlled...
The gadget is the Sansa TakeTV, a Flash-based unit with a compact remote control, a choice of 4GB or 8GB of local storage - for up to five and ten hours' US-format standard definition content at 1.5Mbps, respectively - and a docking cradle with integrated TV cable with component-, s- and composite-video ports.
SanDisk said the device connects to Windows PCs, Macs and even Linux boxes to grab downloaded content and, where possible, store it locally for computer-free access. The limited storage capacity - Apple TV by contrast comes with a choice of 40GB or 160GB of hard drive space - means the TakeTV is limited to PAL and NTSC standard-definition content. In other words, resolutions of up to 720 x 576 and bit rates of up to 7Mbps. It supports 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios.
...and ready to connect to your telly
Unlike Apple TV, the TakeTV supports popular online video format DivX and its open source equivalent, xVid. It also supports MPEG 4.
But where Apple TV is networkable, the TakeTV is essentially just a glorified MP3 player: you connect it to your computer, copy over content, then take the player and slip it into its TV-connected cradle. That, said SanDisk, makes its product considerably easier to use.
The 8GB TakeTV costs $150 (£73/€105), the 4GB unit $100 (£49/€70).
All the bits
TakeTV is the first flowering of the USB-for-TV concept SanDisk announced at the US Consumer Electronics Show last January, though that scheme calls for TV makers to equip their sets with USB ports.
Alongside TakeTV, SanDisk opened Fanfare a web-based video store with content from the likes of CBS, Weather Channel and Showtime Networks. That means programmes like CSI, Survivor China, Dexter and Sleeper Cell are available now to US-based downloaders free of charge, though SanDisk said "premium content" might come at a charge in the future.
Fanfare requires a software download - the content is DRM'd, natch - and it's Windows only.
very similar in concept to the Archos with DVR station and given the archos added capabilities I would go for it.
something like the Aqua Multimedia Player serves the same purpose and also works as a bog standard USB drive. It's normally sold as enclosure only, so ideal if you have an old IDE drive sitting around on a shelf.
Compare to the right thing
This is not to be compared to the AppleTV : this is a wonna-be rival to iPod Mini (you know that the newest iPod Mini can be hooked up to a TV).
And as such it lacks the screen of the iPod Mini. At the same price. Kindof doesn't make sense.
Why the hell would anybody spend money on this type of tosh, when you can buy a media PC for £250-300 which you can connect directly to your TV and Network!
Not a bad idea
It's actually not a bad idea, do away with the poor reliability of wifi. Just copy a Divx movie to the device then watch on the TV, no wires, no mess, no choppy playback. A simple and cheap solution for somebody who occasionally wants to watch Divx on different TV's around the house, a pretty good stop gap until everybody has Ethernet throughout their houses.