Broadcasters display mobile TV dongles at NAB Show

April 10, 2013 by Ryan Nakashima

The key weapon in TV broadcasters' fight with Internet video upstart Aereo is something inelegantly known as a dongle.

The miniature TV antenna picks up free, mobile . It attaches to and iPad power ports and extends about 7 inches (180 millimeters), allowing users to view live local TV channels at not-quite-high-definition quality.

The device scans the airwaves for signals with the help of an app. The antenna doesn't sap a user's data plan or rely on Wi-Fi signals, but it does need to be recharged.

"If you're at a ball game or a Starbucks and everyone's trying to access the news, you're not going to get (video stoppages)," says Karen McCall, a marketing representative with Dyle Mobile TV, the venture backing the devices.

The dongles are on display at the annual gathering of broadcasters, the NAB Show, taking place this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Dyle says it plans to release units for Android devices soon.

Dyle is actually a coalition of 12 major broadcasters including Fox and NBC. ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC and are waging a legal fight against Aereo, a service that pulls down broadcast station signals with thousands of tiny antennas and sends the signal to mobile devices or computers over the Internet. Users don't require a dongle, just a wireless Internet or mobile phone connection.

Broadcasters contend that Aereo illegally steals signals from the air without paying for the rights before reselling them to customers. Aereo has prevailed so far. It won a preliminary ruling in an appeals court last week that allowed it to continue offering its service in the New York City area.

Dyle began selling its dongles, made by companies such as Elgato and Escort, late last year on

Elgato's EyeTV Mobile sells for $83.98 or more, while Escort's Mobile Digital TV lists for $119.99.

Compared to the $8-per-month by Aereo, the price seems high, but the dongles have the backing of major broadcasters.

The Elgato and Escort devices were designed before Apple reduced the size of the power ports on its newer iPhones and iPads. As a result, people who use the latest iPad and iPhone 5 will need to employ an adapter, which can make the contraption extend somewhat precariously.

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not rated yet Apr 11, 2013
Learn more about 3DPOV, launched this week at NAB Show. 3DPOV captures and delivers first-person perspective for immersive experiences in entertainment, advertising, and learning. Indiegogo campaign underway!
not rated yet Apr 11, 2013
This is like watching a rerun of the death of the newspaper industry.

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