Over 15 years ago, former TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO) CEO Mike Ramsay and fellow company founder James Barton unveiled the first digital video recorder at a consumer electronics show, forever changing how people viewed television, much to the chagrin of television advertisers. Prior to its unveiling, users who wished to record a program for later viewing were relegated to the land of the video cassette recorder (VCR). Remember those?
What does it do?
Now they are looking to clean up and manage your online video sources with an eye towards organization and search. The device called Qplay will launch on Tuesday and is on sale for $49 exclusively at www.qplay.co.
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“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 device, for now, requires an iPad or iPhone in order to function, as either of those devices will function as the “remote” control. The Qplay is roughly the size of an energy bar and plugs into the HDMI port on your television. As your video will be stored on the cloud, users will also need a broadband WiFi connection.
The Qplay will be competing against Apple TV, Roku, and Google’s Chromecast, a dongle-like device that sells for just $35, and if rumors are to be believed, the imminent release of a set top box from Amazon.
TiVo – Apple: An old rivalry renewed
Ramsay and Barton have spent the last 18 months working on their device and in a reverse they will join former rival Anthony Wood. Wood founded ReplayTV, an early rival of TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO) in the DVR arena. Now, Johnson is the man running the company that makes the Roku box.
At present, the Qplay will only work in conjunction with either an iPhone or an iPad though an Android version is promised in the coming months along with the addition of Netflix and other video subscription services promised later this year.