TV Android Tablet Combos Are Now a Thing
Of the many sights I expected to see at CES 2014, android tablets which can pick up over-the-air TV signals was not one of them.
A number of companies ranging from a Chinese OEM to Wiltronic to RCA showed off Android tablets that doubled as portable tvs. They have retractable antennas, apps which work with the integrated tv tuners, and (in a couple cases) kickstands to prop up the tablet.
Some of the models looked to have decent specs, but not all. For example, the 8″ RCA tv\tablet (which was launched at CES 2013) runs Android 4.0 Jelly Bean on a single-core 1GHz CPU. It has a decent screen resolutions (1024 x 768), 2 cameras, Wifi, and Google Play, but I’m not sure that the specs for this tablet justify the $199 price tag (Amazon).
This tablet was just one of several tv tablets that RCA had in display; all could function as Android tablets and only doubled as tvs when you ran the Dyle app or engage the tv tuner app.
I don’t see what market these tablets would have, but I could be wrong; The Chinese OEM I spoke to indicated that they were building tv tablets for the Brazilian market, not the US, and that suggests that someone is buying them.
And I would hope that there is a market, because otherwise I don’t see an explanation for so many companies building so many models (each company had 3 or 4 different models on display). But to be perfectly honest I think this idea is going to be about as popular as 4G tablets – which are a minority of the tablets sold in the US.
But even though tv\Android is a niche market, I’m beginning to realize that lots of companies are dabbling in it. Even Samsung, for example, released a smartphone in 2012 that offered free digital TV.
Thomas January 10, 2014 um 10:32 am
I’ve seen Android tablets with TV tuners on a Chinese site for a few years, but none of them would work with the American ATSC digital system. I hope that these work better than my home system. I live ten miles from the downtown area of a major city, but can only pick up about half of the local channels over the air. Good thing I prefer to read than watch TV, I suppose.
Ebook Bargains UK January 10, 2014 um 12:44 pm
Smartphones with TV capability are all the rage in West Africa, where the Ghana-based rlg is getting them sold widely across the region.
In many poorer parts of the world TVs are readily available but if there’s no reliable power they are not much use, so TV-enabled smartphones (which rlg pre-tune to local stations) are increasingly popular.
You’re probably right, Nate, that these won’t take off in the US or in other rich nations, but the digital market observes no geopolitical boundaries, and these nascent digital markets will eclipse the big western markets in time, just as China is already doing now.
Companies like Google Play and OverDrive understand this and are actively engaging. That gives them the moral high ground now and secures the financial high ground for the future. Most of the world’s population do not live in the rich western countries.
Chris Meadows January 10, 2014 um 4:55 pm
It’s not like it’s really a great stretch. I mentioned this to a friend, and he pointed out that the tablets (or smartphones) were more than halfway there already. They already do MPEG-2 playback, and an ATSC tuner on top of that costs less than $20 in bulk. So they might as well throw it in if they think it’ll make it sell better.
marcus January 11, 2014 um 12:07 pm
Anybody interested in this article could do a lot worse than take a look at Motive television. They are listed on the aim market in the UK