Homemade videos are easy enough to share over the Internet, but when it’s time to show off your vacation highlights or random celebrity sighting, crowding in front of the computer is lame.
So Flip has launched the FlipShare TV, a wireless transmitter and receiver that connects your computer’s Flip video library with a television. Connect the base station to a television via composite or HDMI cable, then plug the USB key into your computer, and the two parts will communicate wirelessly from up to 200 feet away. A remote control is included for navigating your video library.
Users can also share Flip video files with other people, so they can use a FlipShare TV for watching the videos on their own televisions. That’d come in handy if you wanted to watch video at someone’s house without transferring any files. FlipShare TV costs $150.
Unfortunately, FlipShare TV only works with video from Flip camcorders, but that doesn’t make it a niche product. In July 2008, The NPD Group said the Flip — a small, easy to use camcorder that stores video to an internal flash drive — was the best-selling camcorder in the United States. By January, Flip had sold nearly two million devices since it launched in May 2007, according to CNN Money.
The problem with FlipShare TV, as with the Flip itself, is that other devices with more functionality are moving in on Flip’s turf. Apple offers video on both the iPhone and the latest-generation iPod Nano. Upon introducing the later product at an event in September, Apple specifically attacked the Flip for costing the same and not sharing the music and video playback capabilities of the iPod.
Then there are set-top boxes such as Netgear’s Digital Entertainer Live, which streams media from your home network for the same $150, not to mention game consoles such as the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, which can do the same thing.
I suspect that FlipShare TV will draw purchases from people who aren’t aware of these more versatile products, but tech-savvy consumers might find that their money is better-spent elsewhere.