One of the big focuses of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show will be the prevalence of smart TVs and the ability to watch video on a growing number of devices. And one of the more interesting devices that will come out of CES will be Simple.TV, which combines some of the best capabilities of TiVo DVRs and Sling streaming boxes.
The Simple.TV box will be marketed to a growing number of cord cutters that have chosen to do away with their cable packages, giving them the ability to record and stream local broadcast and basic cable channels. While it doesn’t have an HDMI output for hooking up to a consumer’s TV, it will allow them to stream to some connected TVs or other streaming devices that they might have already bought.
Simple.TV works like this: You connect the streaming set-top box to an HD antenna or cable connection, as well as to your broadband connection, and the device allows you to beam live and recorded TV to any number of mobile, tablet or connected device apps that support the box. At launch, Simple.TV will support streaming to the iPad, Roku streaming boxes, Google TV-enabled devices and the Boxee Box.
The box includes an HD tuner and converts digital video feeds to MPEG-4 streams that can be accessed by other devices. While the Simple.TV box won’t have any on-board storage at launch, it will allow users to connect their own USB-enabled hard drives or network-attached storage to record programming from available over-the-air or cable content.
The Simple.TV box will be available in the spring of this year, and will sell for $149 at launch. In addition, consumers will be offered a premium subscription package for $4.99 a month that gives them access to an electronic program guide, enhanced metadata, Series Pass-type automatic recording of their favorite shows, and the ability to stream to up to five different connected devices.
Really Simple Software, which makes the Simple.TV box, is based in Tiburon, Calif. and its founders include CEO Mark Ely, former president of Sonic Solutions (which was acquired by Rovi in December 2010) and CTO Bruce Randall, who was lead architect of Deluxe Digital’s Blu-ray streaming services and had also worked for Sonic Solutions. The startup has about 12 employees and is currently angel-funded, although it’s in the process of raising a Series A round of financing.