Newcomer Qplay to corral Internet video
SAN FRANCISCO - The founders of DVR pioneer TiVo are shifting focus from broadcast TV to broadband Internet as they introduce a new device designed to make it easier for people to find and manage video.
The sequel got underway Tuesday with the release of the Qplay, a $49 box that sorts and streams video clips compiled from all over the Internet.
It uses an application that can be installed on an iPad or iPhone to select video separated into categories, or "Qs." The lineup remains in sync even when a user switches from watching on a TV screen to viewing on an iPad or other device. An Android version is in the works.
The Qplay's debut comes more than 15 years after former TiVo founder and CEO Mike Ramsay and fellow company founder James Barton unveiled the first digital video recorder. The two reunited to launch InVisioneer, a San Jose, Calif., startup that is changing its name to Qplay. The company has raised an undisclosed amount of money from two of Silicon Valley's top venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Redpoint Ventures.
Qplay's competitors include the Roku box, a popular choice for streaming Internet video on television, as well as Apple TV, another streaming box, and Google Inc.'s Chromecast, a dongle-like device that sells for just $35.
But Ramsay and Barton say they've figured out how to bring order to the jumble of video on the Internet.
"It used to be you had 500 channels on TV and nothing to watch," Ramsay said. "Now you have 500 apps on your tablet and you go from one app to the next as you search for something to watch."
The Qplay offers users a constantly changing mix of clips from dozens of websites. About the size of an energy bar, it works with an app that asks users for access to their accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Qplay compiles all the video featured in links posted within their user feeds on Facebook and Twitter, as well as designated channels on YouTube.
Qplay plans to add Netflix and other video subscription services later this year.