A new service promises to deliver free over-the-air television to tablet computers, with no need for wi-fi, a cellular connection or a subscription fee, SFGate reports.
The service, Tablet TV, is backed by Granite Broadcasting and requires an iPad or Android tablet along with an antenna device that can be purchased for less than $100.
“At a time when viewers have more choices than ever — from Netflix to YouTube to 500-plus cable channels — Granite sees Tablet TV as a way to lure viewers back to broadcast television, without the need for a television at all,” the story reports.
Said Peter Markham, chairman and CEO of Granite Broadcasting: “This puts the broadcasters back into the driver’s seat. Now we’re going to a one-to-one relationship with the viewer, which the broadcast industry has never had.”
The report adds: “Tablet TV is a 2-year-old joint venture between Granite, a New York company that operates stations in six markets, and Motive Television, a London technology company focused on the TV industry.”
The service has undergone a closed test at Bay Area station KOFY-TV, with a broader beta test set to launch early next month. The service is scheduled to launch in the Bay Area on the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday.
Said Motive CEO Leonard Fertig: “Our theory is if we can make it work in San Francisco and people like it, the rest of the country will be easier, because people here are connoisseurs of media and technology. We are placing our bet with San Francisco with this thing.”
Tablet TV uses a device Motive calls a T-Pod, described in the report as “a palm-size digital TV antenna, tuner and digital recorder. The company hasn’t settled on a price, but Fertig said Tablet TV expects to sell T-Pods for between $50 to $100.”
“The rechargeable T-Pods can capture over-the-air digital TV signals and retransmit them to tablets using their own Wi-Fi signal,” the report adds. “They work both indoors and outdoors, but must be within 100 feet of the tablet. The companion tablet app decodes the signal and shows the programs. The app includes a program guide and chat service, and users change channels with a simple swipe.”
Brett Sappington, an analyst with the Dallas research firm Parks Associates, said if the technology proves to be reliable and user friendly — and less expensive than subscription television — it could lead to “a little bit of a renaissance in over-the-air television.”