TeleBrands is behind many of those direct-response TV commercials you see at odd hours on off the beaten path TV channels. They're credited with coming up with the signature pitch "but wait... there's more!"
Rarely do their products appear on my radar, but I recently saw a spot for Rabbit TV, a USB device that claims it will deliver over 5000 free Internet TV stations, over 50,000 radio stations, and over 25,000 movies to your home computer or laptop. All for only 10 bucks!
Is it a scam? No, but you need to know exactly what you're getting, which is a USB dongle that allows you to access the Rabbit TV Guide, a proprietary online listing of television and musical content available on the Web.
The module works with a Windows or Mac computer, but not with popular gaming consoles, tablets, or smart phones. Technically, no monthly fees are involved, but using the device for more than a year will cost you $10 annually. A high-speed Internet connection is also required.
The company says this subscription can be canceled at any time, but if you forget, your credit card be charged $10 automatically on the anniversary of the device's activation date. Also noteworthy is the fact that Rabbit TV doesn't provide any content that can't be accessed without the device.
Networks like ABC, NBC, Fox, History, and Discovery have been putting their programs online for years, and services like Sony's Crackle make it possible to watch feature films and popular TV shows over the Internet for free.
Rabbit TV also has a "Pay Per View Movies" section, offering premium movies starting at $1.99 per rental. Again, access to paid services like these is possible without using Rabbit TV's directory, the latter simply provides a portal to find them.
Is Rabbit TV worth the money? If the guide was easier-to-navigate, brimming with hard-to-find offerings, and flawlessly updated, I could see paying $10 for the convenience. RabbitTV, however, is just so-so at what it does.
My gut feeling is that people accustomed to watching TV and listening to music using their computers won't gain much from Rabbit TV. Those who prefer watching movies and TV programs on a conventional television are more likely to benefit from the device but are less likely change how they watch TV. When the novelty wears off, Rabbit TV will wind up in a drawer.
Rabbit TV's packaging claims it's "one of the biggest breakthroughs since TV was invented," which is largely an exaggeration. My advice would be to check out sites like Hulu, Popcornflix, or Pandora before using your plastic to buy Rabbit TV.
For more information about Rabbit TV, visit RabbitTV.com (Be sure to have your speakers turned down, because a loud TV spot plays as soon as the web page loads.)
Swiss Army Knife radio handy in emergencies