By Ron Harris Associated Press
ATLANTA — The company that brought you the popular shoot-and-share Flip camera has added a $150 companion device that is designed to make it easier to watch your video creations on your TV.
It’s a good idea, although other products can do the same thing for less.
The FlipShare TV (for use with Windows and Mac computers) allows you to wirelessly stream video clips recorded with the Flip camera from a computer to a base unit connected to your television. The base has the two main connections you’d need, HDMI and composite, to pipe the video into your display. It can also accommodate videos created without Flip cameras, as long as they’re in the same MP4 format.
My main concern about FlipShare TV is that this type of media streaming has been available for a few years. Some devices cost as little as $100, such as the Netgear EVA2000, which streams various video, audio and photo formats to a TV. Even your everyday Xbox 360 or Sony PlayStation 3 video game consoles can wirelessly connect to your home computer and deliver this type of content to a TV.
FlipShare TV worked fine when I tried it with a computer in the same room as the television. The signal to the base unit comes from a thumb drive-sized transmitter that plugs into the USB port of the computer. After the FlipShare software was installed and the base unit was powered on, I was toggling through a menu of the high-definition videos I had created on a Flip camera.
The on-screen menu was simple enough and the remote control let me manage the viewing through my television rather than the computer.
The device also let me view videos that other people in other locations made available online. I was able to sign up for a free account to broadcast and receive something called a Flip Channel, which lets other FlipShare TV users see videos I’ve selected to share from my library.
It functional, but it’s hard to see this trumping the simple task of uploading video clips to a blog, Facebook, Vimeo, Flickr or YouTube. The FlipShare TV doesn’t address a gap in available technology as much as it simply gives you a new way to share and view videos at home.
FlipShare TV excels at ease of use. If you don’t own any devices that can stream video from your computer, it’s a decent solution.