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Posted at 11:00 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

CES: RCA unveils portable broadcast TV devices, reaching for new viewers

By Cecilia Kang

rca.jpg

The television experience may be undergoing a vast transformation, and broadcasters want in on the action.

As such, RCA announced at CES Tuesday that it's launching a new line of portable digital television devices that can transmit television shows via digital broadcast signals. With some 70 broadcasters on board to get their programming on mobile devices around the nation, the granddaddy of television makers unveiled two new pocket televisions and a car tuner for vehicle-based entertainment systems.

"Whether watching on a train, in the backseat of a car, or just relaxing at home, RCA pocket TV sets will be ideal companions," said Chris Lee, vice president of sales and marketing for RCA licensee Digital Stream.

Such products, following on the heels of announcements by broadcast/broadband TV companies like Sezmi last year, highlight broadcasters' efforts to come up with new business plans and retain their valuable spectrum just as federal regulators try to claim those airwaves for wireless broadband networks. The National Association of Broadcasters trade group launched on Tuesday a campaign to promote new mobile broadcast television technologies.

RCA's 3.5-inch screen mobile television, with a suggested retail price of around $109, will be available later in the year. It will face a steep challenge in winning over consumers who may prefer to get video streamed over the Internet onto smartphones and tablets. RCA also plans to launch a device featuring a 7-inch screen.

By Cecilia Kang  | January 4, 2011; 11:00 PM ET
Categories:  CES  
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Comments

Quoting the first sentence of paragraph 2:
"...portable digital television devices that can transmit television shows via..."

Don't you mean RECEIVE instead to TRANSMIT?

Posted by: sjdorst | January 5, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"portable digital television devices that can transmit television shows via digital broadcast signals.." The writer seems to think that viewing TV shows on a small plastic box is equivalent to transmitting shows (from the box to your eyes and ears). Think of it as iPod for those who need constant entertainment (not just music but movies and "Dancing With The Stars") while on the go. Maybe RCA (not your grandfather's RCA, this one is based in France) can put 3D into the box so you or I can watch "Avatar" come to life the size of a thimble. The world awaits innovation from Thomson-Compagnie Générale de Télégraphie Sans Fil aka RCA. May their IPO be a great success to be followed by plummeting sales.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | January 5, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm, just what we need - one more device to prevent people from interacting with each other...

By the way, isn't the CES just a cover story for the "other" convention in town this week?

;-)

Posted by: jgmann | January 5, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"It will face a steep challenge in winning over consumers who may prefer to get video streamed over the Internet"

That's no lie. I can view all sorts of content online now and can usually get rid of the advertisements too. My Netflix account is money well spent considering the awesome range of service you get with it.

Lastly,....who really likes to watch TV on such a small screen?

Posted by: realneil | January 5, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Some of you sound like Luddites here with your "who wants to watch tv on a mobile?" Let's see how snarky you are next time you're caught in a traffic jam, or in a line while a price check is happening, or in a doctor's office when they're running 30-mins behind, etc etc. Use your imagination just a little bit and you'll see a few of the benefits progressive technology makes for us.

Posted by: Eludium-Q36 | January 5, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm no Luddite, but neither do I swallow every new gadget that's invented by desperate marketing departments and set loose in search of a problem to solve. If one were going to the trouble of carrying this new device around, why not pack a paperback book? Fancy that, a book. Or a Kindle, or an iPad, or any number of other devices. And no, I wouldn't care to watch tv on a tiny screen any more than I enjoy web surfing on a smart phone. We sometimes need to be highly connected for good reasons, but watching the pablum that is dispensed on broadcast TV isn't one of them.

Posted by: drastic | January 5, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

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