Definitely designed for Web-connected cord-cutters, the Simple.TV DVR rolls out to consumers on Thursday, September 27 after a successful Kickstarter project got production of the device off the ground. During the round of Kickstarter funding this year, the folks behind the Simple.TV project raised $100,000 more than the initial project goal. The Kickstarter project included a variety of packages that ranged from just the DVR hardware to a year-long subscription to the premium version of the service. Emphasizing cord-cutting in a few of the packages, some include a bundled Roku XD for streaming Web video or Mohu Leaf antenna to pick up over-the-air high definition channels.
The Simple.TV hardware definitely isn’t a set-top box as there are no digital video outputs like HDMI. Instead, the Simple.TV is designed to deliver free over-the-air channels to platforms outside the home theater. Combining elements of the SlingPlayer and TiVo hardware, the Simple.TV can feed over-the-air channels to devices like PC and Mac computers, the iPad, the iPhone and the Roku set-top box.
It also works on Android devices through a HTML5 web application according to the Kickstarter page, but a dedicated application could be developed at a later date. Since the Simple.TV is feeding significant amounts of data, it does require a wired connection to the router within a home instead of Wi-Fi. In addition, the Simple.TV includes two coaxial inputs for an antenna as well as basic cable.
If a Simple.TV owner wants to access the DVR functions of the device, they only need to plug a portable hard drive into the Simple.TV via the 2.0 USB port on the back of the device. This gives the user the option of choosing the amount of hard drive space they will need for recording high definition television shows or movies. However, there’s only a single tuner in the device which means only one program can be recorded at a time. However, Simple.TV will eventually support multiple DVRs on a single account, so people can purchase additional hardware for more tuners.
Beyond the basics of streaming live television within a home and the ability to pause programming, the company behind Simple.TV will offer a premium plan for $4.99 a month that will allow the user to watch programming outside of the home over Wi-Fi, access an electronic program guide similar to a cable box and setup automatic series recording similar to a TiVo Season Pass.
There will also be an option for a $49.99 yearly fee or a $199.99 lifetime fee for the Simple.TV premium service. Comparatively, TiVo charges $14.99 a month for service to the TiVo Premiere DVR hardware and requires the purchase of a $129.99 TiVo Stream to stream recorded shows to mobile devices.
As of right now, Simple.TV is only being released within the United States, but Canada is next on the release list. In addition, the company behind Simple.TV is also planning on releasing a version in Europe next year. On Thursday September 27, the Simple.TV hardware will be sold through the Simple.tv site for a retail price of $149.99. It’s unknown at this time if the company will attempt to bundle the device with other hardware similar to the Kickstarter project.