This seems to be the year of moving computer video to television. There's the AppleTV, which lets you send any computer video over the air...
This seems to be the year of moving computer video to television. There’s the AppleTV, which lets you send any computer video over the air to your TV set. There’s also Pinnacle’s PCTV HD Ultimate Stick, which has a built-in TV tuner that lets you watch live television via any USB computer port complete with a built-in DVR and a remote control.
As impressive as these devices are, there’s still more of these things out there and they’re available just in time for the holidays.
Now I’d like to tell you about TakeTV from SanDisk, the company known for its wide variety of flash memory devices. The TakeTV (www.take.tv) is an elegant little device that builds upon that technology to produce a unique consumer-electronic device. Basically the TakeTV also lets you transfer any video on your computer and play it on a TV but unlike the AppleTV and PCTV HD Ultimate Stick, it does its thing in a different way.
At first glance, the TakeTV looks much like a flash memory stick. But sliding it open separates the TakeTV with the top part revealing its USB plug. This is the part that you insert into your computer. Then you can use the included fanfare software or just drag and drop any video file to be copied into the TakeTV as it is a flash memory hard drive.
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The other bottom part of the TakeTV is actually a tiny, wireless remote control that you use to navigate the on screen TakeTV display you will see on the television set. The last physical component of the TakeTV is the cradle, which along with its AC adaptor, has several integrated connector cables allowing it to connect to most any modern television set that has S-Video or composite video inputs.
After you have offloaded the computer’s video files into the TakeTV memory stick, you simply remove the stick from your computer’s USB port and insert it into the cradle that’s attached to your TV set. You are then presented with a series of on-screen TV menus that let you choose from a variety of formats and viewing options. From there all you have to do is select the video you want to watch, sit back and enjoy the show.
The TakeTV supports several video formats including MPEG-4, DivX and xVid and supports 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios. It is fully compatible with Windows XP and Vista, Macintosh OS X and Linux and supports USB 2.0.
Two TakeTV models are available. The 4-gigabyte version lets you record up to five hours of video and sells for $99.99. The 8-gigabyte model lets you record up to 10 hours of video and goes for $149.99.
The TakeTV is also compatible with SanDisk’s fanfare.com Web site, which lets you download your favorite TV shows directly into the TakeTV. Currently in beta, the fanfare Web site’s library of content is continuing to expand and offers TV shows from CBS and Showtime. Much of it is free now but the crossed-out charges lead one to expect that fanfare will eventually begin charging for its content.
You can buy the TakeTV at the SanDisk and the fanfare Web sites.
Blue Raven Technology
You can put your Apple iPod to work with a little help from the Blue Raven iPod Video/Nano Audio Recorder.
Plug the device, which is really a microphone, directly into your iPod. When you want to record a lecture, a meeting or even a concert, select the iPod’s “Voice Memo” function and it’ll store the audio in its memory. When connected to a stereo jack, the microphone can also capture audio recordings from other devices. The recorder costs about $50.
— Deborah Porterfield
Gannett News Service