Tired of missing your favorite television shows? No need to anymore.
There's a new generation of viewing devices designed for folks on the go. They're so tiny, they can fit in your pocket.
BestStuff.com Senior Editor David Gregg brought a few to The Early Show Tuesday.
He had some that get over-the-air shows in real time, and others that enable users to download or transfer pre-recorded programs.
The devices Gregg displayed, with descriptions provided in part by their manufacturers, included:
iPod with Video Capability
This boasts up to 20 hours of battery life, five hours more than before. Plus, you get a bigger display, 2.5 inches, and one more iPod color, sleek black. In 30 GB and 60 GB models that hold up to 15,000 songs, full-color album art and up to 25,000 photos. Now, you can watch your favorite TV programming on it, too. With support for up to 150 hours of video, the new iPod enables you to take music videos and TV shows on the road. At under 1/2-inch thin, the new 30 GB iPod takes up about 45 percent less room than the original iPod. Even the new 60 GB model is 10 percent thinner than the fourth-generation 20 GB iPod.
Gregg says the new iPod re-invigorated people's interest in taking their favorite shows with them. However, it has a download fee and limited content.
$299 for the 30GB, $399 for the 60GB; apple.com
The PocketDish from DISH Network is a single device that replaces your MP3 player, photo storage equipment and portable DVD player.
By connecting the PocketDish to a DISH Network digital video recorder (DVR), users can load and watch hours of their favorite television shows or movies. Users can also create portable music libraries, store thousands of photos and play games — eliminating the need for multiple devices. PocketDish comes in three models, with a 2-inch, 4-inch or 7-inch screen.
One of the most advanced portable media devices on the market, PocketDish uses USB 2.0 technology for ultra-fast transfer speeds from select DISH Network DVRs. A full-length movie can be sent to the hard drive in less than 10 minutes. Also compatible with other devices such as VCRs, camcorders, DVRs or PCs, the 4-inch and 7-inch PocketDish units can record video from other sources. The PocketDish with the 7-inch wide-screen LCD display is equipped with a 40-gigabyte hard drive that can store up to 40 hours of DISH Network programming and can even record video from other sources.
It can also store up to 20,000 songs or 400,000 photos. The long-life, rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides approximately four hours of video or 12 hours of music.
With a 4-inch LCD screen, the second PocketDish model offers a 30-gigabyte hard drive for storage of up to 30 hours of DISH Network programming or can record video from another source. In addition to holding up to 15,000 MP3, WMA and WAV music files, the AV500E can store up to 300,000 photos.
The most compact model features a 2.2-inch LCD screen. With a 20-gigabyte hard drive for storage of up to 20 hours of DISH Network programming or 10,000 songs, the player can also store up to 200,000 photos.
Gregg says that compared with the new iPod, the PocketDish has a far wider selection of content and no download fee. And although you don't have to be a subscriber to DISH Network, the manufacturer of the PocketDish, it would enable you to transfer an hour's worth of video in five minutes, instead of in real time.
2-inch is $199, 4-inch is $369, 7inch is $499; pocketdish.com
Although compact in size, the Lyra X3000 by RCA boasts a 3.6-inch TFT ultra-bright color LCD screen with 320 x 240 resolution. The lightweight device weighs less than 8 ounces and is only 3/4 of an inch thick. The Lyra X3000 features a replaceable lithium ion battery providing at least four hours of constant video playback on one charge.
The X3000 enables the direct recording of up to 40 feature-length films from multiple video sources without using a computer and is ideal for digital subscription music content, all in the palm of your hand. The Lyra X3000 morphs into a virtual VCR, utilizing MPEG4 technology, with the capability for both real-time recording from any analog source or high-speed transfer of digitized content, plus the advantage of DVD quality picture performance when outputting to a TV.
Gregg notes that, as with the PocketDish, you don't have to subscribe to a service for the Lyra, but if you do, it would give you higher speed downloads. Availability of Direct TV service for the Lyra is planned.
Available at Wal-Mart for $388.87; rca.com
Zen Vision's 30GB Portable Media Player
Zen Vision's 30GB portable media player is bound to impress anyone who wants to carry all their digital entertainment — tens of thousands of photos, up to 120 hours of videos or 15,000 songs. Zen Vision is not only lightweight and slim, but, beneath its sleek magnesium casing are features that will fulfill all your digital entertainment needs. Zen Vision's glare-proof 3.7-inch LCD screen guarantees that you'll always be entertained. Plus, you have the option of connecting your Zen Vision to a television set via the TV-out jack to thrill larger audiences. When you're on-the-go, enjoy hours of your favorite movies, homemade videos or movie clips taken with your digital camera.
Unlike the PocketDish and Lyra, which enable you to transfer video files from any source, the Zen needs a computer, Gregg says.
Watch your favorite TV show live by simply pushing a couple of buttons on your cell phone or PDA. Sprint's MobiTV makes this TV service possible. Now available via cellular service agreements with Sprint, Cingular, Alltel and several regional carriers, this Emmy-winner presently reaches well over a half million subscribers and offers live TV programming from content providers such as MSNBC, ABC News Now, CNN, Fox News, The Discovery Channel and The Weather Channel, among others.
New channels continue to be added on a regular basis. Right now, there are over 50 channels of programming including original, regional, sports, news, music and entertainment options. MobiTV is simple to use.
It is designed to work like a television remote control from your compatible mobile phone or PDA (Palm or Treo), so technophobes won't have to learn anything new. It's kind of like having a mini-TV in your pocket. The only user requirement is the necessity to install a simple software application in order to receive the service.
The recent introduction of the next generation, MobiTV2, will have you totally satisfied with the picture quality, sound and reception. Speaking of reception, you'll need to have the same number of service flags it takes to send and receive a voice call or you won't be able to view this service.
When Gregg asked a MobiTV representative if they felt this might be a replacement for the big TV screen viewing experience, he was told, "Watching MobiTV is analogous to snacking, as opposed to eating an entire meal," making it the perfect way for someone on-the-go to catch up on the latest news, sports, weather or any of the other myriad of program options offered.
Monthly service plans start at $9.99; mobitv.com
Sony LocationFree TV
Sony's LocationFree TV gives you the freedom to access your favorite video content almost anywhere via your laptop, a Sony PSP (Play Station Portable), or their wireless 12-inch (4:3) touch screen monitor (optional). Thanks to advanced dual-band WiFi technology, you can view any video or music source you've got on your home PC via a wired or wireless connection. You can also surf the internet and send and receive e-mails. Just connect the base station to your home PC and a broadband Internet connection, and you've got total access to your favorite news, entertainment, music and more, anywhere in the world.