Review: Pure Digital FlipShare TV

Pure Digital’s Flip turned the camcorder world upside-down, proving that a cheap, easy-to-use video camera could sell by the truckloads. Three years later, virtually every smartphone on the planet now features a tiny video camera.

So what’s Pure Digital’s next trick? How about making it easier to watch and share all those videos?

FlipShare TV, a wireless dock that streams video and pictures to your TV, is the company’s first non-camera product. And it feels like it. The chintzy plastic aesthetics are definitely not a selling point. Neither is the interface, which looks about as stimulating and vivid as a cloudy afternoon.

But much like the original Flip, the ease of use is hard to ignore. Once you’ve downloaded the FlipShare application to your computer and imported some videos, you simply plug the USB key into your computer, attach the TV base to your TV (by S-Video or HDMI) and wait for the two to pair themselves. It’s literally plug-and-play, and takes just a matter of minutes.

Even better, you can then stream clips from friends’ FlipShare libraries, and they don’t even have to own a Pure Digital TV component: All they need is the free FlipShare software. That means you can give the TV-connected base and USB key to your mom, and she can use it to watch the videos of her grandkids that you upload at your house.

The other big selling point: FlipShare and, therefore, the FlipShare TV, is more or less an open platform. We imported a .mov file shot with an iPhone 3GS, and then we watched our video on a flatscreen less than 30 seconds later.

But now for the real question: How’d it look? Decent, not amazing. For $150, anyone who does not already have a web-enabled TV, Apple TV, Xbox 360, etc. — i.e. grandmas everywhere — will likely get some kick out of using this.

For digerati like us, though, it’ll take — at the very least — a more polished interface (and hardware) before FlipShare TV wins a spot in our living room.

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