CES 2014: Rabbit TV to Release New Super Simple Streaming Device
With its as-seen-on-TV appearance, Rabbit TV is hard to take seriously. Four million sales in one year, however, speak for themselves.
FreeCast had a smart idea in aggregating freely available online video links and creating a directory for online content. It wasn’t until it partnered with TeleBrands, however, that it found success. TeleBrands rebranded the service as Rabbit TV and put it on a USB stick. Sold at stores like Target and Wal-mart, Rabbit TV sold four million units in its first year.
The Rabbit TV directory doesn’t actually need that USB stick; that exists purely to get shelf space. Next month, the company is phasing out the USB stick and releasing a new Rabbit TV model. This one is a cable that lets buyers connect their mobile devices to their TVs for big screen viewing. The package includes a one-year subscription to the online Rabbit TV directory, and the cable itself, which has an HDMI plug on one end, and USB and micro USB plugs on the other. Buyers who need additional tips will be able to order converters for only a shipping charge of around $3.99.
While the USB stick was popular, company CEO William Mobley says connecting mobile devices will allow the Rabbit TV to go after a younger market.
“It’s a poor man’s Chromecast,” Mobley says.
Once they’ve connected their mobile devices, buyers will use iOS or Android apps to access online content. Critics say that Rabbit TV is only pointing viewers to content already freely available online. That’s true, but at $10 per year it isn’t gauging anyone.
Rabbit TV isn’t stopping there, however, and will debut its first set-top box in April. Looking much like a red Roku, the Rabbit box will do more than just connect to free content. Buyers will be able to use it for Skype calls, email, and more, as well as connect it to a digital antenna for over-the-air channels. It will ship with a simple remote and list for $99. An optional remote with a full keyboard will sell for $19.
But wait, there’s more. Rabbit TV also has plans to license its technology, letting other box makers integrate it into their products. Mobley predicts it will do well with the hospitality industry, where hotels will use it to create customized TV experiences.
Rabbit TV may look down-market to the streaming industry, but there’s no arguing with its success. With strong 2013 sales and three new offerings ready to go, 2014 might be the year of the rabbit.