SanDisk challenges AppleTV in its own way
Milpitas (USA) – While a multitude of producers are competing for the market for so-called media extenders, devices capable of transmitting videos stored on a computer to a television – generally wirelessly – SanDisk offers consumers something partially alternative: a system based on flash memory capable of running under Linux, Mac OS X and Windows .
The device, baptized Sansa TakeTV (but formerly known as USBTV), it consists of a USB stick equipped with 4 or 8 GB of flash memory, a remote control and an adapter (cradle) to be connected to the TV. To move movies from the computer to the TV, simply copy the contents onto the key and connect the key to the cradle, which is in turn connected to the TV via the S-Video or composite interface. The USB drive contains a multimedia player inside which allows you to play the three most popular video formats on the Internet: DivX (also with DRM), Xvid and MPEG4. The maximum supported resolution is DVD (720 x 576 pixels) and the files can have a bitrate up to 7 Mbps: no high definition, therefore.
Unlike the vast majority of media extenders on the market today, TakeTV they do not provide support for any audio or image format . SanDisk has therefore banished all frills, targeting TakeTV to those who just want to transfer their AVI files to their TV in the fastest and easiest way possible. Users also willing to accept certain limitations, such as the inability to stream content, update the device memory and take advantage of more advanced video connections, such as component, DVI and HDMI.
It is no coincidence that SanDisk’s solution is based on flash memory: the latter represent the company’s core business, which uses them in USB drives, portable players and memory cards. Among other things, SanDsik’s family of Sansa players is the best-selling in the world after iPod, although the gap between first and second position is huge.
TakeTV was launched on the US market in two versions : the 4 GB one, priced at $ 100, and the 8 GB, priced at $ 150. SanDisk plans to introduce the product to other markets starting next year.
Who does not have space problems may find an alternative to TakeTV in DVD / DivX players that accept USB storage devices : their price starts at around 40 euros and, among the advantages, there is that of being able to use any drive, player or USB disk.
Together with TakeTV, SanDisk has launched in the USA the beta of its first online video store , Fanfare. Just as Apple’s iTunes is tightly integrated with iPod, so is Fanfare at TakeTV: the service is accessible only to users of the SanDisk device, and the videos purchased from this portal, which will initially consist mainly of TV series, they can only be played with TakeTV . It should also be added that although the device also works under Linux and Mac, the Fanfare software is currently only available for Windows.