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Summary:

Sezmi is now available to new users across the U.S., with expanding availability of its product to 36 markets nationwide. Positioned as a way for consumers to cut their cable, Sezmi brings in live broadcast TV content as well as online video from sites like YouTube.

sezmi hardware

Sezmi says it is now available to new users across the U.S., with the company expanding availability of its product to 36 markets nationwide. Positioned as a way for consumers to cut their cable bills, Sezmi’s hardware provides an over-the-air receiver, DVR and broadband video offering that integrates live broadcast TV content as well as online video from sites like YouTube.

The Sezmi hardware sells for $149.99 — down from its original price of $299 — and is available from BestBuy.com. Up until this week, its service had only been available in 15 markets, including its launch market of Los Angeles. The L.A. market is currently the only place where its Sezmi Plus service is available. For $19.99 a month, Sezmi Plus includes programming from a number of cable programmers, such as Bravo, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, MSNBC, MTV, TBS, TNT and USA. Everywhere else, only its Sezmi Select offering is available. Sezmi Select costs $4.99 and includes broadcast content from networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, Telemundo and Univision. Users also have access to a DVR for recording live shows, as well as a wide selection of on-demand content and online video sites.

While Sezmi could provide one way for consumers to quit cable while still being able to access some of their favorite content, its offering is relatively limited so far. Without access to some highly sought-after cable channels — like ESPN — many users may choose to hold off before purchasing Sezmi.

But for those that are interested, the markets where Sezmi can now be used include: Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Cleveland-Akron, OH; Columbus, OH; Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX; Detroit, MI; Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI; Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, NC; Greenville-Spartanburg, SC-Asheville, NC-Anderson, SC; Hartford & New Haven, CT; Houston, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, CA; Memphis, TN; Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN; Nashville, TN; Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA; Oklahoma City, OK; Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Salt Lake City, UT; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA; Seattle-Tacoma, WA; St. Louis, MO; Washington, DC; and West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL.

Sezmi has raised about $71 million since being founded in 2006, including a $25 million funding round from existing investors ahead of its initial LA trial.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: ESPN Leads the Way Over the Top, But Will Others Follow? (subscription required)

  1. Sezmi is a good idea, but they are doing a poor job of executing it. Instead of trying to sell proprietary hardware (probably at breakeven or negative margins) they should be signing deals that allow them to port their channel lineups into blu-ray players, TiVo DVRs, Xboxes and other digital TV sets. Just like Netflix is an option on many CE devices, Sezmi could huge be too, but not if they insist on making consumers pay for hardware before they can actually subscribe to the content. Even if they were giving away the boxes for free, it would still dramatically restrict the potential size of their market. Instead of trying to reinvent what others have done, they should be seeking out those platforms and leveraging their already large installed bases.

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  2. Well. There are a couple of reasons they are not signing deals:

    Bluray players and TV sets do not come with Hard drives built in. Sezmi comes with a 1TB hard drive.
    Those devices do not have ATSC tuners built in which is how the Sezmi box receives channels.

    Paying $150 for a 2 tuner 1TB box is not asking much from consumers. Dish Network and Direct TV ask you for somewhere around $200 to get started. At least at the end of the day the Sezmi box is yours to keep if you decide to cancel your service. With satellite you need to return the boxes or get charged $3-400 dollars.

    And as for ESPN. I’d rather not have it. And i’m a huge sports fan. ESPN currently gets $4.08 per subscriber. But if they did sign them, it would raise my Sezmi bill from $20(taxes include) to somewhere around $26. I’d rather they sign Fox Sports which currently gets only $2.37 per subscriber. This would give me access to LA Lakers, LA Kings , Anaheim Angeles, Los Angeles Galaxy etc.. here in Los Angeles.

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  3. All of the cable networks mentioned in the article are available in HD and brag about it on a regular basis. And what I’ve read they’re only available in sub-standard definition on Sezmi. I guess the saddest part is things happen in threes. 1) USDTV 2) Sezmi and 3) unknown provider that doesn’t pay attention to history, like the Sezmi people.

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  4. [...] offers a video service alternative to cable in 36 markets throughout the U.S. The startup sells a hardware package for $149 that includes an over-the-air receiver and online [...]

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