First mobile TV too pricey for what it offers

Portable digital television is coming — and soon. But the first major device on the market to offer the service isn’t going to whip crowds into a frenzy.

FLO TV, a handheld personal TV, allows you to watch cable and broadcast channels virtually anywhere — but it is pricey, and currently service is less than ideal.

There are pluses, however. The 3.5-inch screen isn’t bad — and because the service operates independently of cellular networks, you could get better reception for TV than you do for your cell phone (though occasionally the picture isn’t crystal clear). The channel selection is fairly robust as well. In addition to CNBC and Comedy Central, FLO TV offers eight other basic channels including MTV, Nickelodeon, CBS Mobile and Fox News.

Price is the major problem. A cost of $249 for a device with just one function is excessive in today’s consumer electronics world, and that doesn’t include the $15 monthly charge. (Long-term contracts lower the monthly fee, but they don’t make sense with competition on the way.)

Really want to watch TV on the go? Get a FLO TV-enabled smartphone instead. You’ll get more channels and ultimately save a bundle.

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