Many years ago, more than I care to count, a battery powered TV was a black and white device that was carried around in a briefcase-sized box, with batteries that would give out after half an hour of grainy footage. Buck Rogers did not look his best when viewed through a snowstorm.
Things have moved on somewhat and with the advent of smartphones and tablets, streaming media is supposedly available on demand whenever and wherever the user may be.
However, things are rarely that simple, and UK manufacturer Cello have taken their popular solar powered solution (aimed at Africa) and adapted it for the cloudier climate of northern Europe, providing a digital TV that will accept both Freeview and Freesat for those occasions when high speed mobile networks are simply not an option.
Two sizes of screen are offered – 22″ and 32″. Both incarnations are lightweight and feature 720p displays that can be brightened or dimmed either by manual intervention of automatically based on the power remaining in the beefy L-ION battery. Cello report up to 12 hours of viewing is possible when the display is dimmed or up to 6 hours at maximum brightness. 4 USB ports may be used to play media from USB devices or use the onboard battery to charge up devices such as smartphones or tablets. An additional 12-volt power point is also available to power other gadgets, such as lighting. Charging the TV requires either a mains connection or something that can supply 12 volts, such as a car battery or similar. Or even a solar panel, if you’re feeling particularly optimistic about the weather.
Cello include a lot of imagery of people watching this television with their feet up in the grass, or within tents on happy camping trips. To be honest, I don’t think the device is robust enough for that sort of usage. It is not rugged by any stretch of the imagination and certainly not water or dirt resistant. And while it is very light to carry, that same lightness translates to a distinct feeling of flimsiness.
However, I can see this television being a boon for caravan or motorhome owners – able to be charged when the vehicle is in motion and giving up to 12 hours viewing without having to hit the leisure battery. It would also be a boon on trips – a large screen, light enough to be slung from a seat for viewing by passengers and easy to take into hotels and cottages without having to worry about what audio/visual connectivity lurks within.
Not Just For Media
I can also see these screens potentially being very popular amongst owners of devices such as the Raspberry Pi, with the USB power from the hefty battery making for some intriguing portable possibilities. I will report back on how well that works in reality.
So, overall, I was impressed during my time with the battery powered TV, and I can think of many uses for it. However, if you are planning to watch it in one of England’s green, green fields, you’d be wise to wait for a very dry day. The Cello battery powered TV should be available now and comes with a 12 month warranty, backed by Cello’s UK-based customer service.
Look out for a detailed review with video in the next few weeks.