Simple.TV: CNET Best of CES 2012 Winner!
In January, we launched Simple.TV at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. There, among major players, we won the coveted Best of Show award in Home Entertainment. Now, we are getting ready to ship and want you to be part of it! Look for special deals with Roku and Mohu and get ready for a new way to watch your favorite television shows.
“Simple.TV might be the next big cord-cutting device” – CNET Jan 2012
Amazing, free, HDTV is all around us.
Most Americans have access to the major networks – ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, PBS – with a simple HD antenna. Yet most of us pay a fortune every year just so the cable companies can deliver it to us in our living rooms. But we’re not watching all our shows in the living room anymore, our lives are mobile; We’re watching TV shows on our iPads and our laptops... in the airport… our favorite coffeeshops... at our friend’s apartment… in the back seat of the car.
Why can’t we get all that great free content onto our iPad, Roku, Apple TV, Roku Box, Mac, connected TV? Why isn’t there a DVR app that lets you watch and record all the live TV and primetime shows you can’t get on Hulu, Netflix, or other Internet services?
That’s what we asked ourselves last year. And over the past 12 months, we made one. Actually, we made a home-based DVR that you control with an app and that you can watch nearly anywhere.
The DVR for our connected TV world - Simple.TV.
What is Simple.TV?
Simple.TV isn’t your standard DVR. It
doesn’t plug into your TV set. And it won’t let you get encrypted cable
or satellite TV. What it will do is capture free-to-air broadcast TV or
basic cable shows and make them available on all your favorite connected
screens – inside your house, or on the road. And up to five family members
can watch Simple.TV simultaneously. Anytime you want to watch your
favorite shows, Simple.TV will serve it up, wherever you are, and on
nearly any screen you can get your hands on.
With Simple.TV, you can cut your cable bill and take advantage of all of the amazing HDTV that virtually all of us get for free.
How does it work?
Simple.TV captures live TV from its antenna/cable input, encodes it into variable bit-rate video, and stores it on a USB hard drive that you provide (network attached storage will be supported down the line).
- Plug in your antenna
- Connect a USB hard drive
- Connect to your network
- Power it up
After set up, download the Simple.TV app on any number of your connected devices (or access via browser) and you’ll be ready to start watching and recording live TV. It’s... simple!
Watch and record live TV
Simple.TV brings you all your local broadcast and basic cable TV stations. To watch a show, select it and start watching. You can also record it or set a series recording to capture every episode of your favorite show, just like TiVo.
Now, you can watch TV on your own terms when you are away from home!
Find your favorites
The Guide tab gives you access to two weeks of upcoming TV. Do a search to find your favorites, or just surf the grid. When you find a show, record an episode or the full season.
The guide is part of our “Premier” service for Simple.TV. You can subscribe for $4.95 a month, $49 for the year, or $199 for the lifetime of your Simple.TV box if you just want to pay and be done with it. It’s way cheaper than any other mainstream DVR subscription.
(Check out our pledge bundles for huge Kickstarter discounts!)
Don’t want to pay $4.95 a month? No problem. Simple.TV works great without any subscription. You'll be able to stream amazing high-def live TV anywhere in your house and manually set up recordings.
Your shows when you want them
When you want to watch a show you’ve recorded, just select it in the My Shows tab. Multiple family members can all access recorded shows from My Shows wherever they are with up to five simultaneous streams!
App and Browser Support
Simple.TV is designed to work with modern HTML-5 browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. We also have dedicated apps for iOS and the Roku media streamer. Additional custom apps are in the pipeline as well - tell us where you want to watch your favorite TV shows. Boxee? Google.TV?
When we ship, you'll be able to watch TV on your iPad, PC, Mac or Roku box.
"Premier Service" is what we call the optional monthly subscription service that provides you with a rich program guide and the ability to stream to devices outside the home. Simple.TV works without it, but you'll get a more basic experience (which is fine for some people, while other will want the ability to schedule series recordings and stream remotely).
The subscription price is intentionally low and way cheaper than any other mainstream DVR subscription. $4.95 a month, $49 for the year.
Even with a monthly subscription, Simple.TV will save you tons of money over cable or satellite.
API for your TV?
What if you could code your own television station? If you are a developer, you can use the Simple.TV API to integrate Simple.TV record and playback inside your web apps. Create a custom Simple.TV DVR interface for your favorite platforms, or build a Facebook widget. It's up to you!
Where we're at
For the past 12 months, we've been working hard to design and build the Simple.TV DVR box, the applications and the cloud-based services that tie it all together.
We have real prototype hardware and our applications are very close to completion. If you choose to support us, you'll be helping to:
- Finish product tooling
- Get the cases produced
- Put the finishing touches on the software applications
- Get the product through certification
- Place a large order with the manufacturers for our first shipments
For pledges of $25, you'll get a Simple.TV T-shirt, designed exclusively for Kickstarter supporters. It will look something like this:
Q: How many tuners does Simple.TV have?
A: Simple.TV has a single tuner, so one live show can be watched or recorded at a time. Shortly after launch, Simple.TV will support multiple DVRs on one account, so you can stack Simple.TV boxes for more tuners.
Q: Can Simple.TV serve up video files from my Mac or PC?
A: Not yet. While Simple.TV does sit on your network and have tons of video encoding power, it’s focused on capturing TV content from your antenna or basic cable. In the future, we may add support for network files as well.
Q: How many people can watch Simple.TV at a time?
A: Simple.TV allows up to five simultaneous connections so your family can all log in and watch live TV or recorded shows. Everyone can watch live TV at the same time, as long as it’s the same channel. When watching recorded shows, up to five different programs can be streamed at once.
Q: Is the product available outside the U.S.?
A: Not yet. Canada is next on the Simple.TV agenda, and we plan to do a version of Simple.TV that will work in Europe in 2013.
Q: How do we know you’re going to ship this summer?
A: While it’s hard to target a specific date, we’re pretty far down the development path. We have our third round of hardware done and have started Beta. We’re using Kickstarter to help manage our hardware build out as we buy parts and get ready for full-scale manufacturing.
Q: Is this your first hardware product?
A: As a company, yes – as a team, no. Simple.TV was founded by veterans of the digital media business. Mark was recently President of Strategy, Sonic Solutions – which used to own Roxio, DivX, CinemaNow, and Main Concept. Bruce Randall, CTO, has delivered breakthrough video encoding, mastering and authoring products and web services for Hollywood studios. Together with their extended team, the Simple.TV crew has launched dozens of award-winning professional and consumer products.
Q: In the Rewards section, what does "unlimited EPG and remote streaming" mean?
A: Basically, you get access to our rich program guide, remote streaming outside the home and series recording for as long as you use your Simple.TV DVR. Instead of a monthly or annual fee, it's included.
Q: What about Android support?
A: When we launch Simple.TV, we'll support medium-sized Android devices (like tablets) with an HTML5 web application. This will be the same thing that runs in your Mac or PC browser, except it's running in your Android browser. It won't support small screens (e.g. phones) or large screens (e.g. Google TV) right out of the gate. Down the road, we'll add support for different screen sizes and we'll even create a native Android application if there's demand.
And finally... a huge thank you!
Simple.TV has been a passion and a dream for Mark and Bruce since it's inception over a year ago. In one year, we've managed to accomplish an enormous amount and we're very close to delivering an amazing product. One thing we've learned as we've designed and built the product is that collaboration is key. We couldn't have gotten this far without the generosity of friends and family who believe in the product and, more importantly, believe in the team. We hope you'll join us in cutting your cable and taking your TV with you. And if you do, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
- (30 days)