Netflix is great. So is HBO Go. But sometimes you don’t want HBO, you want TV. For that, IPTV startup FilmOn hopes to change the dynamic of mobile video by releasing a small and cheap tuner for its services, compatible with all major computing devices including Android. The company hopes that the FimOn AIR tuner will function as a work-around for its legal woes, as it battles the major television producers in the United States over rebroadcasting rights.
You can download the FilmOn app for Android right now, and use it to watch hundreds of rebroadcasted online TV chanels. You won’t find standards like ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC on there, however, as ancient American media companies take exception to having their content redistributed, even with all of the ads included. FilmOn is currently locked in a legal battle with all of the American networks fighting over some tricky rebroadcasting standards in United States law. The AIR tuner would allow for over-the-air broadcasts to be viewed and recorder on iOS and Android, as well as Windows and OS X, where the capability has been present for years with larger tuners. Imagine it as a tiny TiVo for your smartphone.
There’s no timeframe for the FilmOn AIR’s release, though a $95.95 price (or free with a $149.95 yearly subscription) is set already. For the iPhone model’s render it appears to have a pass-through charging and data port, plus a standard USB jack. There’s nothing to stop FilmOn from releasing the tuner add-on and charging for its software, but to be honest, the company might not be around long enough to do so. Legal fees from the TV networks could easily drown the small company, even if they manage to get out of the suit without paying a huge fine. We’ll be on the lookout for the FilmOn AIR tuner – and if they can’t release it, sooner or later, someone else will try.