Tonight at the FLO TV launch event in New York, we got to see FLO TV in action and play around with FLO TV’s new Personal Television device. FLO TV is a brand new service that offers high resolution streaming television to compatible cell phones and portable devices. Their flagship hardware is the FLO TV Personal Television. The device is a touchscreen handheld system that weighs 156g and is a little bigger than an iPod Touch, and it features a convenient built-in kickstand.
The TV scheduling interface on the FLO TV is very clean and well done. I was able to scroll through TV listings, iPhone App style. You can even set reminders when your favorite shows are on. However the device doesn’t have any DVR functionality, but FLO TV says that they plan to offer DVR functionality down the road. Currently the station selection with FLO TV isn’t limited to just a couple of channels including MSNBC, MTV, NBC, Nickelodeon, CBS, Comedy Central, Food Network, X Games, Discovery Channel, Fox News, NBC 2Go, ESPN Mobile TV, and CNBC. FLO TV says that they will be expanding with more stations as more networks get involved.
Video playback on the device was very smooth, I didn’t see any stuttering, or digital static. The capacitive touch-screen screen on the device is also bright and colorful. However, I was testing it in Manhattan where coverage is generally good for just about everything. Interestingly enough, FLO TV operates on its own wireless network, which can either be a very good or bad thing, since FLO TV doesn’t have coverage everywhere and you should check their coverage map before signing up. Battery Life on the FLO TV is also pretty good at up to 300 hours standby and 5 hours watching video.
FLO TV’s Portable Television retails for $250 with 6 months of free service. After 6 months, the service will cost $8.99 a month. On the cellular front, AT&T and Sprint will both be offering FLO TV on certain handsets for $15.00 a month. What is especially cool about using FLO TV on a phone is that unlike with 3G, you can make phone calls while watching TV. The FLO TV Personal Television PTV 350 is available for pre-order, and will be released today.