Simple.TV is ready for its second act. After launching its streaming DVR box in the U.S. last year, the startup is ready to take on what it sees as an even bigger opportunity - Europe. The company will head there with a new manufacturer, new hardware, and some new features that should get more users on board.
Last year, Simple.TV launched a Kickstarter campaign for the first generation of its streaming DVR box, which it targeted at cord cutters watching television through a digital antenna. Since then, the company has raised $5.7 million in funding and is preparing to launch a new version that's a lot more powerful and has new features to appeal to cable-free households.
The new box is being manufactured and distributed by consumer electronics maker Silicondust, with plans for distribution in the U.S. later this fall. The hardware is smaller and sleeker than the previous box, and features a dual tuner and new chipset from Zenverge. It'll also feature a new version of the Simple.TV software for browsing and searching for programming that users want to record and stream to other devices later.
Users will be able to stream to apps for the iPad, Roku, and other connected devices. The new version of Simple.TV will also be able to connect with Google's ChromeCast, the Xbox 360, and other DLNA-compatible devices.
In addition to being able to stream live and recorded TV from a digital antenna, the new Simple.TV box will also feature over-the-top content from services like Netflix, according to Simple.TV CEO Mark Ely. The combination of over-the-top video along with the ability to take TV content anywhere, should appeal to even more cord cutters.
One other feature that the company is working on is cloud-based DVR. Currently, users have to connect their own USB hard drive or network-attached storage to the Simple.TV box to get the DVR part to work. But in the future, the company plans to enable users to save and stream their shows from the cloud instead. That feature isn't slated to launch until early next year, however.
The Opportunity In Europe
In addition to launching its cloud-based DVR, Simple.TV also has big plans to go after the European market in a big way. The Silicondust partnership will help with that, as the companies expect to make the Simple.TV hardware available there next spring.
Due to the wide variety of freely available broadcast stations and the number of users who tune into them, Simple.TV thinks there are a lot of users who would want the ability to stream those signals to other devices or save programs for later. All of which is why the company is demoing its product at IFA Technology Show in Berlin.
The new hardware supports international broadcast standards such as DVB-T2, DVB-C, DVB-S2, and ISDB-T, meaning that users overseas will be able to record and stream their broadcast channels to Simple.TV's mobile and connected TV apps, as well. With that in mind, Ely sees Europe as a potentially bigger opportunity than the U.S.
We'll see how that goes. Before that, Simple.TV's gotta ship the new hardware and software, but with cash in the bank and a new manufacturing partnership, it seems poised to do so.