Unless you’re willing to pay a hefty subscription fee each month, there aren’t many options for watching live TV on the go. RCA is hoping to change that with the aptly named RCA Mobile TV Tablet, a $299 8-inch slate that sports not one, but two TV tuners that provide access to up to 130 mobile TV stations across the U.S.
Being shown for the first time at CES 2013, the RCA Mobile TV Tablet houses an ATSC Mobile DTV tuner, which sports a telescoping antenna to ensure its signal snagging holds tight. The ASTC tuner allows you to grab any normal over-the-air digital TV broadcasts, but it has one big catch; it doesn’t work when you’re on the move. That’s where the second tuner comes in.
The second tuner works with Dyle.TV, a mobile television service that offers service in 35 cities and counting. You can watch TV wherever the device can receive a signal, regardless of whether you’re connected to the Internet.
How good is the selection? When we entered our New York City zip code on Dyle.TV’s site, it returned 8 channels, including CBS, Fox, MyTV, and NBC, as well as Telemundo, two “Independent channels” and Qubo. The tablet also includes TV-esque features such as closed captioning, channel scanning, and on-screen program information.
If you’re not interested in TV, you’ll probably want to pass on the RCA Mobile TV Tablet, as it’s pretty underpowered as far as slates go. The tablet runs on a 1-GHz Cortex A5 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of onboard storage. Other features include Wi-Fi and GPS along with microUSB, micrSD Card, and HDMI connections.
The 8-inch IPS display sports a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, which is enough to handle the 720p digital HD signals output by most television stations, and Dyle.TV doesn’t even broadcast in HD, according to AllThingsD. For now Dyle.TV is free, and it’s expected to stay that way at least through 2013. At some point, however, the company may offer tiered subscriptions.
The slate weights a somewhat hefty 1.4 pounds, most likely due to the dual tuners. By comparison, the 7.9-inch iPad mini weighs just .68 pounds. RCA says the tablet lasts 10 hours during normal web browsing, but just 4 hours while watching TV.
The company will be showing off the RCA Mobile TV Tablet at CES next week, with a full-blown launch slated for some time in the spring.