A device has surfaced in FCC documents that lets users watch broadcast digital television on the iPhone, providing live content while most Internet TV options are still limited to older content.
The Cydle i30 wraps around the back of the smartphone and protrudes beyond the bottom. It features an adjustable antenna to optimize the signal, and feeds the video to the iPhone over Wi-Fi. The device has an integrated battery to drive what must be a power-hungry process.
The i30′s obvious use case would be viewing live events, especially sports. YouTube Live now promises some real-time feeds, including sports, but broadcast networks largely retain a lock on live events.
Cydle’s i30 could fill the gap until more live events are available over the Internet, but it’s unlikely that hardware that adds substantially to the bulk of a smartphone will seriously threaten such services if and when they emerge.
Cable companies are rushing to meet the challenge of Internet television with apps that provide mostly on-demand content to mobile devices. Comcast recently refreshed its Xfinity app, which gives subscribers access to thousands of hours of content, and Time Warner also has a mobile app.
However, both require Wi-Fi connections to work, while the i30 can tap a broadcast signal anywhere.