Escort (known for automotive accessories) and Siano (known for mobile broadcast solutions) have teamed up to create the Escort MobileTV, a mini digital television receiver that allows iPod, iPhone and iPad viewers to pick up standard over-the-air TV stations. Though the duo announced the device just before Christmas, it was exhibited for the first time at CES 2013.
The device gives consumers access to live, local broadcast TV and is capable of tapping into 90 stations in 35 markets. Since it picks up free terrestrial stations, there is no subscription fee associated with the device and it does not use wireless data or Wi-Fi.
There’s been plenty of legal fuss over Aereo (and its pugnaciously-named competitor Aereokiller) using miniature digital antennae to pick up free TV and rebroadcast it via the Web for a fee. Escort and Siano dodge that particular legal quandary by letting users pick up and watch the stations directly, no rebroadcast necessary. Of course, the enormous antenna might be more than enough of a trade off for most users.
The rechargeable Escort Mobile TV comes with a charging cable with standard and mini USB options. The associated iDTV USA app – which manages your viewing – is free at the Apple App Store.
Escort MobileTV is available now on Escort’s website for $100. Unfortunately, the 30-pin connector means it won’t work with the iPhone 5, but it supports the fourth-generation iPod, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad, 3rd generation iPad, and iPad 2. Be sure to check out their coverage map to see if your area supports the service.