RCA reinvents mobile TV for the tablet universe

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LAS VEGAS–Mobile TV has yet to get much traction, in spite of it being talked up for several years running now. But that could change thanks to the RCA Mobile TV Tablet. This unique 8-inch tablet has the first dual-tuner mobile TV built into a fairly standard looking Android 4.0.4 tablet. Imagine watching TV on-the-go being free of data bandwidth; that's the promise this gadget may fulfill.

The secret sauce here is that dual-tuner, which handles standard over-the-air ATSC broadcasts as well as uses Dyle mobile TV, a separate service via an Android app that let consumers watch TV on over 130 stations nationwide, in 35 U.S. markets.

As a tablet, the Mobile TV Tablet is fairly ordinary. It weighs 1.4 pounds, a bit hefty for its size. Under the hood are a 1GHz Telechip Cortex-A5-based processor, 8GB of memory, and 1GB of RAM, plus a GPS and dual cameras. Along the edges are MicroUSB, MicroSD, and HDMI connections. The 8-inch 1024 by 768 pixel display looks reasonable, although the air gap is between the glass and the LCD beneath is visible.

RCA says that battery should last about four hours while watching TV, and 10 hours for general Web surfing. A telescoping antennae tucks away neatly along the edge of the tablet.

Like most tablets shown at CES this year, this one supports Google Play and other Google services.

The Mobile TV Tablet is due in April, and will cost $299.

That price is a bit high for a tablet with these components, but the appeal of mobile TV shouldn't be underestimated. Of all the specialty tablets I've seen so far at 2013 CES, this one has caught my imagination the most. Mind you, you'll still be constrained by the availability of over-the-air broadcasts in your neighborhood; but nonetheless, the idea of ye olde Sony Watchman, a portable TV of yore, coming to life inside the form factor of a tablet is intriguing. I look forward to see what, if anything, some of the big-name manufacturers can do with the idea.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out complete coverage of CES 2013 from PCWorld and TechHive.

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