The TabletTV Plus, a device that merges free over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV channels with Internet streaming services, is available now, with a new app for iOS. TabletTV includes a pocket-sized receiver-transmitter called a TPod that captures over-the-air broadcast TV signals and sends them to a tablet app. For now, it’s available only for the iPad and iPad Mini — an Android tablet version is in the works
A joint venture between Motive Television and Granite Broadcasting Corporation, the TabletTV Plus is a hardware-software combination made up of a small set-top box called the TPod that connects with an ATSC digital antenna and a home network to pull in OTA and over-the-top (OTT) content, streaming it to the iPad through the free TabletTV Plus app.
Using the product and service incurs no subscription, though is also limited to whatever content it can capture locally. Major networks generally broadcast freely over the air, allowing users with compatible antennas to pull in the signals without paying to watch them.
Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, Sling TV and Showtime are among the streaming services the device is able to support.
The service also offers split screen viewing, along with a single-tuner digital video recorder (DVR) to record live OTA programming. The device has 7GB of internal storage, plus an 8GB microSD card that comes with the unit to kick things off. The 15GB cumulative total is good for about eight hours of recorded footage in HD. The card slot is expandable up to 132GB.
Unfortunately setting up the TabletTV at this time may pose a bit of a challenge to average consumers. We believe over time as this process becomes simpler it will more likely be embraced by the average consumer. Connecting the TPod to the iPad, then the TPod to the Wi-Fi network, and then the iPad back to the TPod through the Wi-Fi network was as complicated as it sounds, and didn’t work every time.
We like that the Tpod functions as a mini digital video recorder, with an included 7 GB of internal storage and an 8-GB MicroSD chip. In theory, that should be plenty of room now and in the future to record shows to watch off the TPod or to download them to the iPad to watch on the go. This worked well, however we did run into a software glitch where the recorder doesn’t stop if you start recording a show that is already on. It doesn’t seem smart enough to stop at the end of the show. However, when selecting recording on a future show we didn’t encounter this issue.
The IOS app downloads programming data so one can easily see whats on now and several days into the future. However, we found it takes an unacceptably long time to download the program data. It also seems to forget that it just downloaded it so if you close the app and then immediately reopen it, it goes through the same process. It would be preferable for the app to be smarter and remember when it has last downloaded the program data. We trust future app updates will continually improve the user experience.
It will record shows directly to the storage on your tablet, so even without a TV signal or indeed WiFi you can watch previously recorded shows. This is ideal if you’re on a plane or somewhere similar and you can’t get a TV signal. Your movies, TV shows and local TV content can be played back, whether you’re on a flight or abroad.
At $89, the TabletTV is an incredibly fun device, and far more useful than we had anticipated. We believe it’s the perfect compliment to cord cutters who have recently cut the cord to their cable or satellite provider. TabletTV makes the perfect fill-in for Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions. We’re loving TabletTV, and we think you will to.
You can purchase TabletTV at Amazon, and more options can be purchased at TabletTV’s website. Tablet TV