Remember PLAiR? About nine months ago, the startup raised $2.1 million from Roger McNamee and Mike Maples’ Floodgate Fund, but wouldn’t say what for. (Spoiler alert: We found out anyway.) Never mind that. The company is finally ready to release product! And, well, here the product is.
As we expected, PLAiR is a sub-$100, dolphin-shaped dongle for streaming online video to your TV screen, either from a computer or any mobile device. The idea is to enable anyone to experience AirPlay-like functionality, even if they don’t have an Apple TV — or an iPhone or an iPad. The product debuted at CES and is finally ready to ship to consumers.
With a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, and Wi-Fi capability, PLAiR allows users to stream all the content they care about, without having to buy a connected TV or worry about whether or not it has a certain app.
Viewers can plug it in to an open HDMI port on a TV and connecting to PCs through a Chrome plug-in or mobile and tablet devices via native Android and iOS apps. Once connected, viewers can watch any available online content or locally stored media in full, 1080p video resolution and Dolby 5.1 surround sound.
I got a demo of the device a few weeks ago, and it works more or less as advertised. On the web/PC side of things, PLAiR provides a landing page where users can find basically all their favorite TV shows through a single interface. Once they’re launched from a laptop or desktop, users can leave the page and surf the web, checking out other pages. And the mobile apps have a wide selection of freely available video content that can be streamed from smartphones or tablets.
Anyway, the device is for sale at www.PLAiR.com/store for $99. Oh and it’s available in three colors.