A couple hours ago, Channel Master announced something called LinearTV at CES…
“When we developed the DVR+ we had a vision of a TV solution for both consumers and content owners that would be much more than just a DVR and apps”, said Coty Youtsey, president and CEO of Channel Master. “Our LinearTV technology is the culmination of that vision and we’re very excited to get it into the living rooms of our customers.”
So, what exactly is LinearTV, how will it be implemented on the DVR+, and why should consumers care?
LinearTV technology is a software-based, online content aggregation solution that allows consumers to access live and linear online channels with the DVR+.
Online broadcast channels appear in a linear channel guide alongside over-the-air broadcast channels and Internet-based applications such as Vudu, Pandora and Youtube, giving the consumer a seamless TV viewing experience across multiple content delivery sources. The solution, debuting on Channel Master’s DVR+ at International CES, is the first of its kind in a consumer electronics device, and is expected to be available to DVR+ customers via a software update in early 2015.
The announcement included a preview of the DVR+ Guide. (The boxes and text are added by me.) The programming in the red box, comes in to the DVR+ via an antenna in your home. This part of the guide works like the guide on your cable box. You can see what is on and what is coming next for all of the channels by scrolling around the grid. Click a box in that grid to select a channel to watch or record. The green box is populated with apps. Click an app to load a program like Vudu, Pandora, or YouTube. This works like a traditional streaming box. The app loads, presents its own user interface, and runs its own content — usually on-demand. The yellow box is what’s new. The yellow box is LinearTV. LinearTV is a continuous stream of programming which is delivered to your television just like the antenna programming in the red box except the source of the programming is the internet instead of an antenna.
According to Troy Dreier at streamingmedia.com, Channel Master is still ironing out the details, but the product is being demo’d with programming from Bloomberg, Al Jazeera America, CNN World, WGN, NASA, BBC World News, Vevo TV, and QVC. Troy reports that the final product may allow consumers to record streamed programming just as they record antenna programming.
Why should consumers care? Because it’s easy, inexpensive, and entertaining.
When I bid Comcast adieu, I said goodbye to a large monthly bill, AND premium programming, AND an interactive program guide, AND my DVR — all in one box, with one remote. We were able to get some of that premium programming with Netflix, but that required another box and another remote. We purchased a DVR — another box and another remote. Family members who simply wanted to watch television, were not excited about ‘learning’ how to do it — use this remote to turn on the TV, change to input hdmi 2, click on this tile, and use the TV remote to adjust the volume. With the DVR+, a single box does it all. A single remote does it all — TV on, DVR on, volume adjust, guide and app navigation.
My last Comcast bill was for $170 — that was five years ago. For the same money spent on two months of Comcast in 2010, you can buy a DVR+, a disk, and an antenna in 2015. While we are all excited about all the new and potential internet sourced content coming to the DVR+, it’s important to remember that you do not need the internet to use it. When there is no internet connection, the DVR+ compiles a guide from PSIP data in the broadcast itself.
In my market (Boston), we receive ABC, Bounce, CBS, Cozi, CW, Escape, FOX, Fox Movies, GetTV, ION, ION Life, Qubo, MeTV, MyTV, NBC, PBS (+ Create, Explore, Kids, and World), The Works, This TV, and ZUUS over the air. The DVR+ adds a guide and time shifting as well as apps and, now, LinerTV.
I’ve speculated too much and probably got some stuff wrong, but this looks like a very nice development for cable cutters. I’ll update this as more information becomes available.