The FlipShare TV is meant as a companion device to the Flip mini-camcorder Cisco acquired in March. The new set-top box connects to the TV via an HDMI cable that comes with the device, along with an oversized USB dongle that plugs into a USB port on a PC or Mac.
The dongle and console are pre-configured to communicate wirelessly, so video stored on the computer can be streamed to the TV. The FlipShare TV includes a remote control for clicking through video via the device's TV interface.
The new product is designed to work with FlipShare 5.0, the latest software for the Flip camcorder. The software makes it possible to organize, edit, and share video online, such as on YouTube.
In addition, FlipShare 5.0 makes it possible to upload video to Flip's FlipChannel service, which enables people to share video over the Internet by setting up channels that can be accessed by selected friends and family. In order for FlipShare TV to show online video, the content must first be streamed to the home computer.
FlipShare TV communicates over a peer-to-peer 802.11n Wi-Fi connection. The set-top console is 4.6 x 4.6 x 1.3 inches and weighs 4.6 ounces. The manufacturer suggested retail price is $150.
Cisco, which has long dominated the networking switch and router markets, has been moving aggressively in the consumer market for some time. The company acquired Pure Digital Technologies and its easy-to-use Flip Video camera for $590 million in stock.
The device features a USB connector that "flips" out from the camera for easy insertion in PCs and other devices. Flip Video's FlipShare software facilitates use of the camera for posting videos to YouTube and other Web sites.