Online streaming television provider FilmOn has announced the Air, a portable ATSC tuner that it claims will allow users to watch locally-broadcast high-definition programming on their computer or mobile device. FilmOn offers subscribers access to 120 high-definition channels via the browser or through its mobile apps, but the company was sued by the top four US television networks in 2010 for re-broadcasting their over-the-air signals without permission. The new device aims to circumvent the issue, by allowing users to pull the signal directly from the air itself.
The company says the Air will operate for five hours on a single charge, and will work with Windows and Mac computers as well as iOS and Android devices (while no specifics are given on the latter, the company does say that "most" popular smartphones and tablets will be supported). Unfortunately, additional details are slim: the only available images are renders, and there's no indication yet of how well it will perform in real-world scenarios. Also muddying the waters is the provocative nature of FilmOn's CEO Alki David — he previously offered $1 million for someone to streak Barack Obama as a promotional stunt — and whether the announcement of the Air will impact the ongoing legal battles surrounding the company. We won't have to wait too long to find out, however. The Air is slated for release in February at a retail price of $95.95. Subscribers to FilmOn's annual $149.95 subscription plan will receive it free of charge.