The streaming media player bubble isn’t over. A new contender called Veebeam hopes to make customers reconsider how they want to get their daily fix of web video.
Veebeam wirelessly hooks up your PC to your TV so you can watch The Daily Show, Hulu, Netflix movies and The Big Bang Theory on a giant screen rather than a 22-inch monitor. The Veebeam player streams media in high-definition–780p or 1080p resolution–at speeds that can be up to four times faster than Wi-Fi.
Veebeam is competitively priced against Apple TV and the Roku box. A SD version of Veebeam costs $100, a HD version comes for $140. But for that price, Veebeam can do more than many of its peers, says Patrick Cosson, vice-president of marketing for Veebeam. Veebeam showed its product at the DEMO Fall 2010 conference Tuesday.
“Apple TV is a walled garden,” he says. “Most people’s basket of entertainment media consumption is broader so they need a platform that gives them that,” says Cosson.
It’s not a new pitch. Companies such as Google, Boxee and Netgear have been trying to tap into the growing pool of users who are now turning to web video for their entertainment. In May, Google launched Google TV, a new set-top-box platform based on Google’s Android operating system that will have access to Flickr, gaming sites such as Club Penguin, music sites such as Pandora and traditional cable programming.
Other companies such as Roku and Boxee have been slightly less ambitious, promising just an easy way to stream web content from the PC to the TV. Boxee, though, is available only as a software program but the company has said it’s partnership with D-Link will result in a Boxee box this year.
And there’s Apple TV. Though long characterized as a “hobby” by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Apple launched a new version of the device earlier this month. Apple TV now integrates Flickr photos, allows rental of TV shows from ABC and Fox and lets users stream media from their iTunes library.
“Apple TV is a 720p solution,” says Cosson, “while we can stream at 1080p so you can advantage of that HD TV.”
Veebeam uses wireless USB to stream content from the PC to the TV. Wireless USB is more powerful for point-to-point connectivity than traditional Wi-Fi because it offers more bandwidth and less interference, says the company. Veebeam estimates 420 Mbps speeds for wireless USB.
Customers have to plug the Veebeam box to their TV and attach the USB antenna that comes with the device to their laptop. Users can switch between the ’screencasting’ mode for sharing websites or photos and the ‘play-to’ mode for video.
Though services such as Boxee have had problems with Hulu–Hulu blocked Boxee at least thrice over two years–Veebeam is confident it can fly under the radar.
“It’s impossible for Hulu to block us,” says Cosson. “We take a series of little pictures of your computer and project it out to your TV so Hulu doesn’t know that the content is on the TV. They think its on the browser.”
That in a nutshell explains Veebeam. It’s a wireless USB hub in a pretty chassis. It doesn’t connect directly to the internet –it just streams what is on your laptop. Still, at its price it could be a cheap and painless way to get video from your notebook to your TV screen.
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Photos: Dylan Tweney/Wired.com
Fuente: Gadget Lab