SanDisk launches TV-friendly USB stick and video download service

SanDisk launches TV-friendly USB stick and video download serviceSanDisk has become the latest company to tackle the PC-to-TV problem.

Taking a much simpler approach compared to the many media extenders on the market, the Sansa TakeTV player forgoes the need for a home network. Instead, content is physically shuttled from a PC to a TV via a dedicated USB stick and docking station. “No confusing WiFi set-ups, no waiting to burn DVDs”, boasts the Sansa online store.

The TakeTV device supports popular video formats DivX and xVid, and is available in two versions: a four-gigabyte model priced at $99 and an eight-gigabyte model for $149.

To support its TakeTV device, SanDisk has also rolled out a Beta version of a new video download service called Fanfare, which will offer paid-for, and eventually, ad-supported content from various partners. Of note, CBS and independent film-store Jaman are among the first to have signed on.

FanfareWhile the TakeTV device itself is Mac and PC compatible, the Fanfare download service is, disappointingly and rather confusingly, Windows-only — presumably because of the type of DRM the service employs.

Although the need to physically move content around the home can be seen as a backwards step — technically, at least — the TakeTV player’s highly competitive price-point, simplicity, and full DivX support make it an attractive offering, especially for users who don’t want to deal with a home network.

On that point, David Poltrack, president of CBS Vision, tells Business Week, “when we tested the SanDisk product it clearly resonated with consumers… There are other ways to do this with more sophisticated products, but because of cost and complexity they’re not as attractive. This is going to be selling at Wal-Mart.”

If the Sansa TakeTV can appeal to the Wal-Mart crowd, it might just succeed where many other PC-to-TV offerings have failed.

TakeTV Sansa

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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