On the heels of the HTC Imagio, a phone that allows users to watch live TV, FLO TV announced a dedicated handheld television player, appropriately dubbed the Personal Television. The device itself (also made by HTC) costs $249, while the monthly subscription fee is $8.99. Subscribers get access to a small but compelling list of channels, including Comedy Central, MTV, NBC, and Nickelodeon.
The Personal Television is designed for parents who to hand their kids something to watch in the back seat without subjecting their cell phones to all sorts of abuse. We think the price of the gadget needs to come way down if FLO TV wants to charge that high a monthly fee. $149 or $99 sounds about right. But at least the Personal Televsion does more than just TV. It’s also a photo viewer and music player.
The device has a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen, and measures 4.4 x 3.0 x 0.5 inches. It weighs just over 5 ounces. Like some other devices, it has a kickstand in the back so you can prop it up while you watch TV. But, here’s a key difference from any phone with mobile TV: because FLO TV runs on its own, dedicated network, instead of piggybacking on one of the four major carriers, it promises the kind of smooth mobile TV experience you don’t always get if you opt for video service from the likes of AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon.
You can choose between a one-year and three-year service agreement. That $8.99 per month stat assumes you’ve committed to three years of service (FLO TV won’t release full pricing information until launch). Subscriptions are non-refundable, so you can’t pro-rate them if you decide it’s not for you.
The FLO TV Personal Television will be available for purchase this holiday season. Stay tuned for hands-on impressions.