A first look at Simple.tv’s HTML5 app

Simple.tv made a splash at CES with the announcement of a budget-priced DVR service that’s geared toward the cord-cutting crowd. The company will start selling its DVR by the end of spring for $149, and Simple.tv CEO Mark Ely told me during a recent meeting that the company’s iPad(s AAPL) and Roku apps will be available as soon as the first devices ship.

However, Simple.tv is also working on an HTML5 app for Boxee, Google(s GOOG) TV and other connected TV platforms that will be made available soon after, and he shared some first screenshots exclusively with GigaOM.

Take a first look at Simple.tv’s HTML5 app below:

Ely cautioned that the HTML5 app is still a work-in-progress and that things may look different once it gets released later this year.

Simple.tv’s DVR will come without a hard drive, instead utilizing USB drives that customers connect to the device. It will stream video within the local network as well as to mobile devices on the go. Ely said that the company is saving every recording with three different bitrates to accommodate different streaming needs. Simple.tv does so by HTTP live streaming, also known as HLS. The company hasn’t settled on final bitrates yet, but Ely told me it is currently testing 5Mbps for its highest-quality 1080p stream.

Customers will get basic recording capability for free; Simple.tv will charge $5 per month for an advanced EPG. Simple.tv isn’t the only company trying to make money with DVR services for cord cutters: Boxee seems to be working on DVR capabilities for its live TV dongle as well, and TiVo(s TIVO) has been doing a number of promotions geared toward cord cutters in recent months. Ely, however, told me he’s playing in a bit of a different league, because Simple.tv is not competing with Boxee or TiVo as a platform. “I’d much rather be the app that you launch,” he said.