Picking the name “TVBLOB” for your company name and set-top box software product might seem strange, but it makes sense if you want that software to be everywhere and capable of anything.
This month, TVBLOB is rolling out the first implementation of its open software platform on a set-top box. Like other players in the set-top box space, the TVBLOB software has DVR capabilities, allows you to access content stored on your network, lets you watch web-based video podcasts and YouTube, supports BitTorrent, and lets you play games. The difference is that TVBLOB’s platform is open and theoretically anyone can create anything for it.
TVBLOB envisions the next Jeff Bezos building their company through its service, only instead of building it on the PC, they build it through the TV. The BLOBforge site offers all of the tools for creators to build an application for the platform and participants can either choose to make money through the service or not.
TVBLOB licenses its software to different hardware devices, and the first OEM partner is Telsey, an Italian IPTV company that has released the BLOBbox by Telsey. It has a dual DVB tuner to access digital television, 160GB hard drive, an HDMI out and USB storage support. The device has an MSRP of 325 Euros ($418 USD).
Given the crowded state of the set-top box market, $418 for the Telsey box seems a bit high, but since TBLOB just does the software, they’ll most likely be able to get on a cheaper device relatively soon. We like that TVBLOB is creating an open platform for TV development, and we’ll be keeping tabs on what applications are developed for it. TVBLOB is similar to Boxee, an open source media center platform that encourages its community to develop applications for the service, though Boxee has more of a social focus to its product.
Based in Milan, Italy, TVBLOB was founded in 2003 by Fabrizio Caffarelli, who found previous success in the tech world when he created the Easy CD software for burning CDs. He also funded the startup to the tune of 8 million Euros ($10 million) for developing the platform. TVBLOB currently has 30 employees in Italy and Tokyo.