The founders of DVR pioneer TiVo are shifting their focus from broadcast TV to broadband Internet as they introduce a new device designed to make it easier for people to find and manage video.
The sequel gets underway Tuesday with the release of the Qplay, a box that sorts and streams video clips compiled from all over the Internet. It's on sale for $49 exclusively at http://www.qplay.co .
The Qplay is controlled through an application that can be installed on an iPad or iPhone to select video separated into categories, or "Qs." All the video is stored in remote data centers so the line-up remains in sync even when a user switches from watching on a TV screen to viewing on an iPad or another device.
The Qplay's debut comes more than 15 years after former TiVo Inc. CEO Mike Ramsay and fellow company founder James Barton unveiled the first digital video recorder at a consumer electronics show.
TiVo proved to be more versatile and convenient than video cassette recorders, encouraging millions of viewers to store TV shows so they could be watch the programs at their discretion instead of having the times dictated to them. TiVo's DVRs also made it even quicker to skip through commercials.
One of TiVo's first rivals in the DVR industry, ReplayTV, was founded by Anthony Wood, who now runs a Silicon Valley company that makes the Roku box _ a popular choice for streaming Internet video on television. The Qplay also will be competing against Apple TV, another streaming box, and Google Inc.'s Chromecast, a dongle-like device that sells for just $35.
After spending the past 18 months working on the Qplay, Ramsay and Barton are convinced they have figured out how to bring order to the jumble of video on the Internet.
"If you look at the state of Internet video today, it's a mess," Ramsay said. "It used to be you had 500 channels on TV and nothing to watch. Now it seems like you have 500 apps on your tablet and you go from one app to the next as you search for something to watch."
The Qplay aims to become a vital video hub by offering its users a constantly changing mix of clips from dozens of websites. The device, which is about the size of an energy bar, does this by working with an app that asks users for access to their accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Qplay then compiles all the video featured in links posted within their user feeds on Facebook and Twitter, as well as designated channels on YouTube. (continued...)
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