It’s just unreasonable to expect that people need a TiVo, VUDU, Roku, Slingbox, Apple TV, and a PC sitting next to their TV — though to get every last bit of their functionality combined that’s really what you need to do. What if you could get your TV, your DVR, your web video, your personal media sharing, and your place-shifting from device to device and TV set to TV set all powered by a single set-top box?
An all-in-one device is the promise of the new Janus from San Mateo, Calif.-based Entone, a nine-year-old company that sold off its VOD business for $45 million to Harmonic in 2006. The company recently raised a $14.5 million Series B round for its new focus on IPTV.
Janus, which will be out in trials soon and fully available next year, will only be sold through Entone’s operator partners. The idea to enable them to provide a cheaper and more flexible alternative to cable TV offerings, with everything transmitted over the open Internet rather than with a dedicated pipe into the home. It’s something similar to what French Telecom does in France, according to Entone CEO Steve McKay. “We’re stealing from that concept and making it available in the United States,” he said. Entone, with its previous product called Hydra, claims to be second in U.S. IPTV box market share to Motorola — but it doesn’t even have any deployments in California, where it’s based. So while it doesn’t have to go the retail route, it’s not like the Janus will exactly be widely available.
Here’s a video we shot last week at Entone HQ of McKay demonstrating the new device.