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Color us surprised. Not only is would-be cable killer Sezmi not dead, the company announced today that it has received $25 million in new funding from existing investors and it has launched a pilot program in Los Angeles.
Sezmi’s two-part set-top box solution consists of a receiver that receives over-the-air transmissions (Sezmi leases spectrum to broadcast content) and a 1TB DVR that stores shows and aggregates broadband content.
To get Sezmi, customers will either rent the equipment for an undisclosed amount, or purchase the equipment outright for $299. Ongoing service fees are $5 a month for broadcast-only channels or $25 a month for a broadcast/cable combo. As the service expands, it is supposed to be available through retail channels and through small and medium telcos and ISPs.
While Sezmi has pulled together a lineup of cable channels including Bravo, CNN, MTV, TBS and more — it still lacks any channels from FOX (s NWSA) or Disney (s DIS), including ESPN, severely hobbling its content selection.
The LA Times points out that the company is being a bit cagey about the HD it will offer. Sezmi didn’t say how much HD content it will deliver and told the paper, “The most popular content on the most popular networks will be in HD as available.”
With the influx of new capital, Sezmi has raised $71 million by our count. But the company will need the cash to establish and explain itself to the market. We still think its solution is too complex for most people (even though it’s not that complex) to grasp quickly, which could turn potential customers off.
If you live in L.A. and want to try out Sezmi for yourself, you can sign up here. Let us know how it goes.