With TakeTV, SanDisk’s Video Strategy Takes Shape

sansa_taketv.jpgUpdate: SanDisk announced the new video player this morning and a new video portal called Fanfare. We were right about the portal part, not so right about the name of the portal. Fanfare for now features content from CBS and Jaman.com, and is powered by ExtendMedia. I suspect the other deals will be announced later.

— original story below the fold —

Sometime on Monday, SanDisk (SNDK), a Milpitas, Calif.-based company whose main business is making flash memory chips, is going to announce Take.TV, a video portal to accompany a USB flash drive that will also carry the same name, according to our sources. Sony (SNE), CBS (CBS) and Paramount (VIA) are some of the content partners likely to offer their content on this new video portal.

TakeTV is part of the company’s ongoing strategic shift from commodity flash memory chips to more profitable, value-added product offerings.

SanDisk’s new portal will allow folks to download content — including television shows and full-length feature films — from well-known studios and other sources onto their personal computers. After that, users can transfer the files to their TakeTV USB drives, and then play them back on their televisions using a special composite connector.

Details of the new device that’s coming along with the portal have also been leaked, and yesterday appeared on popular technology and gadget blog Engadget. The device, which is said to cost around $99, comes with a cover that also doubles as a remote control. SanDisk had made its USB-based video plans publicly known at the CES Show earlier this year.

The device is capable of playing back videos encoded in various formats, including DivX, Xvid, and MPEG4. Our source could not confirm the quality of video playback, but said it was possible it would be HD.

The device is simple enough, and is likely to be offered at a price point that would make it an attractive proposition. There’s no networking knowledge required — even grandmas and grandpas can use USB drives and plug in cables to a TV.

Using the Sansa TakeTV1 video player is as simple as using a USB flash drive: Simply drag video files to the TakeTV player, and then slip the player into its TV cradle. The cradle plugs into the standard A/V sockets of nearly every existing TV. Next, consumers are shown a simple, on-screen guide where they can quickly select the content they’ve stored on the Sansa TakeTV player, using the included remote control2.

The sleek Sansa TakeTV video player will work with new and legacy TV systems via standard AV composite inputs or S-Video

SanDisk has plans to add video to other SanDisk offerings currently being offered under the brand name, Sansa. It already offers SanDisk Sansa View MP3 players that have video playback features.

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* 5 Alternatives to Apple TV

* Our previous SanDisk coverage.