Simple.TV wants to help cord cutters record and have access to broadcast TV wherever they are, by connecting its device to an HD antenna and streaming those signals over the Internet. And it’s launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund that vision, as it prepares to launch in mid-summer.
Simple.TV makes a combination DVR and streaming device — kind of like a TiVo meets Slingbox — that lets users record basic cable and HD over-the-air TV signals, then stream them over the Internet to apps the company has built for the iPad or the iPhone. The company has also just built an HTML5 web app that will let users connect on devices that it hasn’t yet built apps for — like Android tablets, for instance.
Simple.TV CEO Mark Ely says that the Kickstarter campaign will help fund the initial run of device sales. Rather than raising funding in exchange for equity, Kickstarter will provide some of the working capital required to start manufacturing the device.
There are some other advantages to launching on Kickstarter rather than opening with sales on the Simple.TV website and on Amazon.com. Ely says that the crowdsourcing service will help it with inventory management and gauging demand for the device before it starts selling direct to consumers. Kickstarter is also a great way to gain support through social networks and by word-of-mouth.
Simple.TV has multiple levels of support for the campaign, all of which will provide discounts for users who wish to sign up early and get one of the first devices to be shipped. With a goal of $125,000, the startup has a relatively low threshold of success — after all, it only takes about 1,000 unit sales for Simple.TV to hit its target.