There’s something comforting about having a TV on. Whether at the doctor’s office, the airport, or your uncle Ned’s, the passive kind of boredom-breaking entertainment television provides is without equal.
Very different from the experience of loading up an iPod or Zune with half-hour episode of your favorite prime time sagas, the FLO TV personal television viewer gives all-you-can-watch access to around 16 popular channels for a flat monthly fee of $14.99.
The FLO TV device will set you back around $199–a price that includes 6 months of free subscription TV service. FLO TV is about as close as you can get to replicating the at-home TV experience on a portable device and will appeal to TV fanatics who’ve fantasized about having a small television they can watch at work or commuting on the bus
That said, casual TV fans who only care about a handful of specific shows will be better served by an a la carte portable video product, such as the iPod Touch or Zune HD. The iPod and Zune are priced comparably to the FLO TV, offer dozens of additional features, and have the capability of playing content on demand.
Measuring 3 inches tall by 4.4 inches wide and just a half inch thick, the FLO TV comes across as a slightly bulky cousin to the iPod Touch. Like the Touch, the FLO TV includes a 3.5-inch capacitive touch-screen display, along with a front-facing home button, a 3.5mm headphone jack off to the side, and a rocker switch for adjusting volume.
A few design details help distinguish the FLO TV from its peers. The back of the device includes a hinged black flap that acts as a kickstand for hands-free viewing. A small pair of integrated stereo speakers is also included on the back of the device, and they deliver significantly louder audio than the iPod Touch’s speaker or even speakers on larger devices, such as the Archos 5.
On the top edge of the FLO TV, you’ll find a button that acts as a battery life indicator, as well as a similar-looking button for turning the device on and off. On the right edge, along with a headphone jack and volume buttons, you’ll find a dedicated mute button and a micro-USB port for charging the device over USB or the included power adapter.