December 19, 2013
Through their San Jose-based startup InVisioneer, TiVo co-founders Michael Ramsay and Jim Barton are reportedly getting ready to release a new TV companion device called QPlay, designed to blend video discovery and curation with smart TV functionality. According to a recent FCC filing, QPlay connects to TVs through HDMI and, similar to Chromecast, relies on an iPad for Wi-Fi set-up and device interaction, rather than a remote control.
InVisioneer, which has hired engineers from Apple, Google and Linden Lab, recently received financing from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Ramsay is the company’s CEO, while Barton serves as CTO and president.
“Dave Zatz recently spotted an FCC filing for the QPlay-branded device a few days ago, which suggests that the release is imminent,” reports Janko Roettgers for GigaOM. “Zatz also found a bunch of other clues, and I’ve learned in the last few days that some of the services QPlay is working with include Netflix and Hulu Plus.”
“The USB-powered set-top is the companion to an iPad app, which presumably encompasses […] mobile, social, video elements,” writes Zatz on his connected home and digital lifestyle blog Zatz Not Funny!
“And, given the Q (‘queue’) branding, I’ll go ahead and assume this device is designed to play your tagged and shared YouTube, Vimeo, etc videos on the big screen. A little bit Chromecast/Airplay, a little bit (OG) Boxee? Adding fuel to the Qplay fire, qplay.co has been registered by another former TiVo employee, now working at InVisioneer.”
“Whereas Chromecast is primarily about letting users beam content to the TV screen from within a variety of third-party apps, QPlay instead focuses on curation through its own dedicated app,” notes Roettgers. “Essentially, QPlay will offer users apps for iOS devices to discover, collect, share and watch videos. Users will be able to make their own playlists of videos, share them with others through the service as well as Facebook and Twitter, browse the playlists of their friends and apparently also rate playlists.”
While Zatz refers to YouTube, Vimeo and similar services, QPlay may lean more closely to premium video, accessing content from Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon.
“Lots of details about QPlay are still unclear, but given the timing of the FCC filing, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see many of them revealed at the upcoming CES in Las Vegas next month,” suggests Roettgers.