Widget Box: Digital TV: From big to small screen

Now that most of us have our digital big-screens TVs, it’s time to go the other direction: Mobile digital TV means small is beautiful, and maybe more importantly, ready to go when and where you do.
You may wind up watching it on a 7-inch dedicated screen, like the one LG Electronics will exhibit at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. Or, you might do your viewing on a netbook, like the 10.1-inch screen Mini 10 netbook with a built-in mobile DTV receiver that Dell demonstrates Tuesday at CES, which should be available by the holiday season.
There’s also a nifty device known as Tivit, already used in Japan and the size of a deck cards, that is as a wireless TV receiver for smartphones with Wi-Fi, such as the iPhone (as well as the iPod Touch) and certain models of BlackBerrys. It will cost around $120, and is due out this spring.
Other ways of getting mobile DTV will include USB mobile DTV laptop receivers, or dongles, that plug into laptop computers, much like dongles for wireless mice or flash drives. They should be available this spring, as well, with prices ranging from $90 to $125.
Cars, too, are another place where mobile DTV may find a home, with DVD players already having a back seat presence.
The cost of providing mobile DTV is “relatively small,” Lougee said, more of an add-on to the investments that were already made with the nation’s transition to digital television last June.
Within waning broadcast ratings, as more consumers turn to their laptops to watch TV shows on the Web, mobile DTV offers an additional audience for broadcasters who believe consumers will see it as yet one more avenue to watch TV on their own terms.
“Obviously, we have an expectation today that if we’re reading anything that’s text-based — an e-mail or a book — we can do that now wherever we are. I think the consumer is going to have the same expectation around their favorite television programming,” Lougee said.
The mobile DTV receiver in Dell’s netbook will be built into the LCD panel, and there will be a small external antenna to use as well.