By Sahil Patel
Video discovery and access to the TV screen are two common talking points for people who like to talk about ways to improve online video*.
Here’s a company that wants to solve both issues in one fell swoop — and to its credit, has a strong pedigree to maybe, actually, potentially make it happen.
QPlay is a new internet-streaming venture from TiVo co-founders Jim Barton and Mike Ramsay. The product, which consists of a cloud-based streaming service, an iPad app, and a set-top box, allows users to curate videos from sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, and Instagram into themed playlists.
These playlists are referred to as “Qs,” which can be created by users based on whichever criteria they choose. Users have a lot of functionality in terms of how they want to set up these Qs — they can insert individual videos into a Q or create ones based on channels or playlists they’re subscribing to on sites like YouTube. Users can also access Qs based on videos their friends have shared on social networks, as well as the public at large.
On top of all that, QPlay offers a group of pre-set Qs based on common categories like news and sports. These pull in content from professional providers like CBS, CNN, and MSNBC.
All Qs are regularly updated whenever new content is published from the sources within the playlist.
Users can watch any of this content on the iPad app. And with the set-top box also have the ability to stream the Qs on their TV, provided that all the pieces are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Essentially, QPlay is hoping to give users the ability to create their own themed “networks” of the content they want to watch.
Right now, the focus is on open and free online video from the aforementioned sources. Eventually, the company could add the ability to access content from subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go.
That’s the general gist of it — you can get a more visual understanding of how it all works via the video below. QPlay is currently available for $49, and can be purchased on the company’s website.
The next obvious step for the company is to see if QPlay can gain traction in what is already a crowded market. From relatively new kids like Google’s Chromecast to veteran streamers like Apple TV and Roku, there are many devices promising users easier access to online video content on their TV screens. QPlay’s pitch is that by giving users control over how they want to curate and watch content, it can set itself apart.
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