This year's CES certainly has no shortage of content providers competing for the attention of those in attendance. Among companies such as Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu Plus stands one manufacturer that is guaranteed to have the focus of consumers. The new product from Simple.TV is designed with cord-cutters and network streamers in mind. The device is capable of recording over-the-air HDTV and Clear QAM cable, along with providing typical DVR functionality such as the ability to pause live TV.
Interestingly, it achieves all this without any form of internal storage. Instead it utilizes a USB 2.0 port on the rear allowing external storage solutions to be connected to the unit. The reverse also houses the power port, two network ports, and twin aerial connectors.
Another noticeable item missing is any form of video output or HDMI connector. The Simple.TV relies on streaming media across your home network to existing boxes instead. Devices supported at launch are currently Roku, iPad, Boxee and Google TV. Information is still quite vague, but it appears it will have apps for each supported device which you can use to access recorded programs, and view your available TV channels.
One major limitation is the lack of Wireless connectivity, requiring users to connect it to the network using an Ethernet cable or an Ethernet to wireless solution, which drives the cost up further. It is also a single tuner unit, so in order to record more than one program at once you’ll need to "stack" them.
There is also the matter of the monthly subscription if you want to enjoy all of the unit’s features. While $4.99 seems fair, it might discourage those looking to reduce their monthly TV bill. That said, it does offer automatic recording, rich information about favorite shows and an electronic program guide as well as unlimited streaming for up to five concurrent users as part of that monthly cost.
Those interested in purchasing a Simple.TV can reserve a unit now for $150 in advance of its spring launch.