TiVo founders Mike Ramsey and Jim Barton changed the way many people watched television, allowing users to record scheduled broadcasts and watch them on their own schedules. Now Ramsey and Barton are back — and this time they’re taking aim at internet video.
Their new product is called QPlay, and it consists of a small box that you can plug into a TV and a companion iPad app that lets you find online video and add it to a queue (or what QPlay calls a Q) to create your own personal stream from multiple online video sites.
The QPlay adapter is available for purchase for $49. That’s the discounted launch price though, so the adapter could cost more in the future.
The box measures 4.5″ x 2.3″ x 0.5″ and weighs 3.2 ounces. It connects to your TV via an HDMI cable, and support 1080p video output. The adapter connected to the internet with the help of an 802.11b/g/n WiFi adapter and draws power from a USB cable.
While Ramsey and Barton are positioning QPlay as a revolutionary device that offers new ways to interact with online video much the way TiVo shook up the broadcast TV model, the truth of the matter is that online video is already a largely on-demand, on-your-schedule experience.
What QPlay aims to do is make it easier to bring internet video to your TV and create a sort of custom channel of videos from a range of content providers. But there’s no shortage of internet TV boxes that offer a similar, if not identical service.
QPlay will have to compete with Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and a number of other internet video boxes. But with a $49 price tag and the Chromecast-like ability to let you continue using your iPad after you’ve selected a video, the QPlay looks like a moderately interesting entry into the smart TV box space.
Unfortunately at launch the QPlay only supports a handful of services including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. But eventually the team hopes to add support for popular video sites including Netflix and Hulu Plus.