iPhone 3G Softbank 1-Seg TV Tuner reviewed: power hungry but great

Softbank's 1-Seg TV tuner for the iPhone 3G has gone on sale in Japan, meaning mobile media obsessed commuters can now entertain themselves with live TV as well as YouTube clips of kids getting over-excited about their Nintendo Wii.  The device, announced at the end of October, streams TV footage to the iPhone via WiFi; meanwhile a cable provides extra power from the tuner to the iPhone, in an attempt to prolong runtime.

From DVICE's review, however, this umbilical is only partially successful.  Reviewer Adario Strange managed around an hour of TV – with the iPhone brightness at full – before the battery meter began to complain.  With a mains connection, however, the setup rates well, connecting with no trouble whatsoever and offering "crystal clear" visuals with "astoundingly good" audio.

At just 9,850 yen ($108) this is certainly one of the more appealing accessories for the iPhone 3G that we've seen.  Unfortunately, given that it uses the 1-Seg standard, it's not much use outside of Japan (which makes the Japanese-language instructions and software menus a non-issue).