Depending on your data plan, watching TV shows on you phone or tablet is a pretty expensive way to pass the time. But there is a cheaper way that doesn’t involve any data.
Elgato is bringing out a pocket sized digital TV tuner that runs off batteries and creates its own WiFi hotspot so you can watch on an iPhone 4, iPod touch (4th gen) or iPad (IOS 4.2 or later), or Mac or PC.
Called the Elgato tivizen, the unit will go on sale in Australia in a few weeks. And while it's a DVB-T tuner, not designed specifically to mobile digital TV standards (such as DVB-H), Elgato's representatives suggest that it should work if you're sitting on a crowded trains and bus crawling through peak hour.
The unit itself is a bit larger than an iPhone, but as our photo shows, it's small enough that you could feasabily stick it in a pocket.
The beauty of the tivizen is that it doesn’t rely on an existing WiFi network. Elgato already has another device, the eyeTV netstream DTT, which has two tuners and connects to your home router so you can watch on a Mac or PC. But the little tivizen creates its own network.
The Elgato tivizen and 1st gen iPhone
The tivizen runs on a removeable recharchabe Li-ion battery which Elgato claims will give you more than 3.5 hours of TV.
To see TV you'll need to download a free tivizen app for iOS, or the EyeTV software for Mac or THC software for PC. On the iPad, this functions as a PVR, with a buffer of approximately five minutes for rewinding shows, and the ability to record shows.
One thing to note: as the tivizen sets up its own adhoc network, you'll need to switch to this network on your WiFi device. If you're already relying on WiFi for Internet access because you don't have 3G, then this will mean losing Internet access while you're watching.
We asked Elgato representatives about Android, and while there's nothing specific they could tell us, they did say it's something they're looking at.
While there's always podcasts, iView, Youtube and your own video files to keep you entertained on a phone or tablet, there's some appeal to the non-Internet approach - after all it's free, and it’s live too, which is handy if you want to be able to keep an eye on the football or cricket in the backyard or at the beach.