Lost in the cacophony surrounding the launch of the iPhone was the announcement, at CES, of an innovation which could well turn out to be of greater long term significance. Flash memory specialist Sandisk has introduced a new industry wide technology that enables easy TV viewing of video material from a flash drive.
The SanDisk USBTV product consists of a USB flash drive which video files can be dragged and dropped onto from a PC. This can then connect to a ‘TV cradle’ which would be compatible with most TVs and contain a multimedia processor that converts the stored files into various TV video/audio formats for direct playback on virtually any TV without the need for any changes to the TV set.
SanDisk also announced the creation of the USBTV Forum to stimulate industry-wide growth among consumer electronics manufacturers, TV and display manufacturers, content providers and related technology companies.
“We believe that USBTV represents an exciting new category of flash-based products that will bring digital downloading of video to a broad spectrum of new consumers who prefer viewing on their TV sets rather than on a PC screen,” said Eli Harari, SanDisk CEO. “USBTV has the potential to become an industry-transforming category. USBTV solves in a simple, elegant way the ‘last 10 feet’ of the content portability problem in the home between the PC and the TV,” he said.
Details of when products will be released and how much they will cost have not been made available at the time of writing.