Is Simple.TV the future of the DVR?

By Natan Edelsburg 

Update: Simple.TV has reached its Kickstarter goal of $125,000.

Earlier: There’s a new Kickstarter project focused on innovating TV, and they’re only $10,000 short of reaching their goal of $125,000 with 24 days left. Simple.TV, which won a best-of-show award at CES, is on a mission to have you cut your traditional cord in favor of streaming free HD content from broadcasters to your phones, tablets and connected TV sets. We spoke with founder Mark Ely about his venture and how Simple.TV works.

In their promo video (above), Ely described how they asked themselves, “What would it take to get free HD TV onto our iPad, our PCs, or our connected TVs – why don’t we create a DVR app? It’s a DVR, a placeshifter and a video server all in one.” You buy the device, plug in your aerial HDTV antenna (or your cable service), download the app and provides Aereo-type DVR functionality with Slingbox place-shifting abilities to as many as five devices at the same time.

It would appear that Slingbox will have more to worry about. While they’re charging for place-shifting, it’s only $50 bucks/year. They’re also launching with Roku, which Slingbox doesn’t have yet. Finally, their API is designed to encourage developers to “code your own television station.”

Lost Remote: What’s the Kickstarter TV project all about? Why use this platform as supposed to traditional fundraising?

Mark Ely: Just like with Pebble, we found that traditional fundraising hasn’t been effective for hardware startups.

LR: Has Roku, others, supported?

Ely: We’ve had lots of positive support – as well as development guidance – from Roku.

LR: How do you think this will encourage a more social TV environment?

Ely: The Simple.TV platform is designed with social networks in mind. Initially, Simple.TV incorporates posting and tweeting based on what users are viewing on their device, but over time will leverage social networks for recommendations and more.

LR: How does the tech work?

Ely: The Simple.TV DVR captures live TV and encodes it into multiple streams of H/264 video which can be saved on hard drive. Simple.TV then acts as a server and delivers those streams to almost any connected screen that can play back H/264 – such as the Roku box, iPad, PC/Macs, and other connected platforms.

LR: Anything else?

Ely: Unlike other TV streaming hardware, Simple.TV can be accessed by multiple users simultaneously – so it become a whole home solution for watching recorded TV.