flotv.jpgI am not above digital babysitting. There, I’ve admitted it. I use TV and video games to babysit my kids on occasion. We pack DVD players and other electronic travel gadgets for trips that are longer than 60 minutes and now I might have to pack the TV.

Actually the kids can pack it.  Luckily for them, FLO TV has made the device as small as my iPhone and the service is available on AT&T and Verizon cell phones.  The cool thing is that the TV device is not dependent on a carrier like AT&T or Verizon or even an Internet connection.  It works off antennae that have been purchased to carry FLO’s signal.  Content is licensed from major television networks and programmed just like any other station.  It does not offer programs on demand and at this point is available primarily in major metropolitan areas.

Keeping Kids Happy

I will still not allow the kids to use electronics for errand running and short trips, but I will pack the TV myself for any trip over 60 minutes.  It’s a great electronic road trip gadget because it does not have the same power restrictions as a DVD player and you can switch channels for program variety.  My teen will no doubt try to sneak it into his room around bedtime so I will have to be alert.

The service can be set up in automobiles – Chrysler was the first to sign up.  The system comes with remote, headphones and if you buy FLO TV service now, the first six months of service are free.

I experienced the service in the car that I took to the FLO TV launch event.  The picture was clear, the sound perfect and I had a choice of channels.  The picture did freeze several times as we left Connecticut and entered New York.  I was told that was due to antennae changes.  That could get annoying if you are watching your favorite show.

As much as I don’t want my kids being glued to a TV set, I would buy this gadget. It’s great for travel and I know we have road tips on our travel future.   Plus my husband, the sports enthusiast, often eats lunch in the office and would love access to the latest scores and sports stories, especially during football season.  The gadgets runs programming from CBS, CBS College Sports, CBS News, CNBC, COMEDY CENTRAL, ESPN, ESPNEWS, FOX, FOX News, FOX Sports, MSNBC, MTV, NBC2Go, NBC, NBC News, NBC Sports and Nickelodeon.

How It Works

“We should be able to bring TV with us,” says FLO TV president, Bill Stone.  He saw that mobile TV technology in the U.S. was behind Japan, which already offered mobile television. His company bought the spectrum formerly owned by UHF channel 55, licensed content from various television stations and voila, he was in business. 

FLO TV subscription service plans start at of $8.99 per month for a three-year plan and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price on the little TVs is $249.99.  The device has a 3.5-inch diagonal screen and measures 4.4 inches by 3 inches by .5 inches and weighs just over 5 ounces.  Its battery lasts more than five hours for viewing and 300 hours on standby.  It operates via touch screen.
 
The company, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, calls its portable TV service a boredom buster.  I call it a digital babysitter – great for roadtrips, long lines, short lunch breaks. The problem is that you are stuck with their programming schedule, so if your 4-year-old loves "Blues Clues,"  he will have to wait for it.  That won’t affect my tween because she can find something to watch on Nick any time of the day. She loves TV too much.

“We should be able to bring TV with us,” says FLO TV president, Bill Stone.  He saw that mobile TV technology in the U.S. was behind Japan, which already offered mobile television. His company bought the spectrum formerly owned by UHF channel 55, licensed content from various television stations and voila, he was in business. 

FLO TV subscription service plans start at of $8.99 per month for a three-year plan and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price on the little TVs is $249.99.  The device has a 3.5-inch diagonal screen and measures 4.4 inches by 3 inches by .5 inches and weighs just over 5 ounces.  Its battery lasts more than five hours for viewing and 300 hours on standby.  It operates via touch screen.
 
The company, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, calls its portable TV service a boredom buster.  I call it a digital babysitter – great for roadtrips, long lines, short lunch breaks. The problem is that you are stuck with their programming schedule, so if your 4-year-old loves "Blues Clues,"  he will have to wait for it.  That won’t affect my tween because she can find something to watch on Nick any time of the day. She loves TV too much.