That's about to change. In January, Sacramento, CA-based i-O Display Systems will debut a hand-held video entertainment device capable of containing up to 20 hours of television programming. The "Riviera," as the company plans to call it, will retail for about $600 and should find plenty of buyers among TV-addicted technogeeks, according to a November 9 report by Clint Swett in the Sacramento Bee.
Transplanted from the Silicon Valley town of Menlo Park to the more affordable Sacramento suburb of Natomas, i-O Systems already enjoys success with a line of wearable video displays called "I-glasses" that provide personal theatrical experiences when connected to a source such as a DVD player. The company also makes 3-D glasses, night vision goggles and other products for the military. President Marty Holloway told Swett that he expects that the first buyers of the Riviera will be "techies and gadget folk" as well as employees of the company.
Holloway prefers to describe the 20GB hard-drive equipped Riviera as "a video MP3 player." A cradle lets users record directly into the player from TV sets, VCRs or DVD players, he explained. The Riviera also doubles as a source for TV or computer display through its USB cable. Because it lacks a display, it can't be used as a player without an external display. It's more an easily portable recorder/player. Video junkies who can't live without a constant injection of Friends reruns will need to look at the rival Archos device. It has an almost 4" screen, an 80GB hard drive, and a $900 price tag. I-O plans to make accessories like add-on screens available after the Riviera hits the market.