January 7, 2008
will demonstrate a proof-of-concept device that will play downloads, including 1080p HD video content on a television set at CES. The device will also work on Windows PCs, Macs and Linux PCs. SyncTV claims to use an open-standards approach which facilitates third-party hardware manufacturers developing compatible devices
. Other devices that SyncTV could be integrated into include television sets, in-car video systems and other portable players.
SyncTV is an unlimited TV download service that launched in private beta in November 2007. The service allows users to download entire seasons of home theater-quality TV shows at a low monthly subscription fee. As well as subscriptions, SyncTV also supports purchase and rental models for TV content. Pricing and channel line-ups will be announced when the service enters a public beta later in Q1. During the private beta, channel subscriptions will be available for free to users. You can can request participation in the SyncTV beta program on their website.
The minimum video quality of all the content is comparable to the same content on DVD, and where possible, HD content will be available across the different channels. SyncTV will also have programming available in discrete 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. SyncTV has a flexible usage model, allowing playback on up to five home devices, such as PCs, set-top boxes or TVs as well as up to ten portable devices.
John Gildred, President of SyncTV commented: "This is just the start of the SyncTV ecosystem. We only use open standards for all communication protocols and data formats, which makes it easier for developers to create devices which support the service. As more compatible devices are developed by manufacturers, people will see the benefits of the flexible playback model that we 'baked in' to the service."
Pretty cool, but I wonder how much content they will be offering. They are a subsidiary of Pioneer Research Center USA, so they do have a big name behind them to get the licensing agreements from the copyright holders. I know plenty of people are tired of paying $50-$100/month for hundreds of TV programs they never watch. They watch like 4-5 of their favorite TV series and get much of their news and weather online, with little need for live TV programming. Thus, they can save a great deal of money with SyncTV and other competing solutions. Heck, I can't even get HDTV channels from DirecTV since their HDTV satellite is blocked by a mountain in my neighborhood and when I had Charter, they offered like 6 measly HDTV channels. Streaming HDTV "on demand" may be the way to go for me as well.