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Entone Wants to Get Rid of That Jumble of Boxes Behind Your TV

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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.

7 Responses to “Entone Wants to Get Rid of That Jumble of Boxes Behind Your TV”

  1. Thanks Liz! Streaming Hulu for head/partner content is definitely the way to go given their phenomenal growth. If you get YouTube for UGC/semi-pro, Hulu for TV and Netflix for movie content, you’ve a winning distribution channel. Are any of these guys attending your conference in Nov?

  2. Akash, I don’t know that they have any content deals so it would likely be streaming Hulu/Amazon to your TV. As far as I know they don’t have a DRM strategy beyond that.

    It seems like this one is a bit more creative than others I’ve seen because they are actually willing to think out of the box, so to say, and combine services that are often separated for silly reasons.

  3. I recently starting using http://parkmytv.com which hosts my slingbox for me and I’m now getting MUCh better video quality since I’m not limited to my home DSL upload speeds and I pleasantly no longer annoy those at home watching TV while I’m switching channels on them while away :) I think they are in trials now but I was able to get an account early on…

  4. Liz, who is providing the content for Entone. Is the idea that external providers will use internet as the distribution channel? And what is their DRM story.
    The internet streaming service, worth their salt, is Netflix. They are getting good content and have a strong offering via Roku. And I’m sure they must have spend a lot of time convincing the content providers about their DRM story.
    I personally like the Netflix streaming service via Samsung’s Bluray box. Consumers are going to start purchasing Bluray in droves once the price point drops below $200 and its a perfect channel to get into the living room.
    Does Entone have a tie-up with Netflix?