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SiliconDust’s HDHomeRun swings and misses, abandons live TV streaming service

Silicon Dust All in One
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Well that didn’t last long. Only a few short months after SiliconDust announced the availability of a TV streaming package for its HDHomeRun customers — offering 45 channels for $35 per month — the company has said it will be killing the service within 30 days.

In an email to its customers acquired by CordCuttersNews, SiliconDust does not provide an explanation for the sudden demise of its HDHomeRun Premium TV service, but the likely culprit is a legal dispute between Omniverse, the company that provided the channel streams to HDHomeRun, and the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a group that represents major broadcasters like AMC, CBS, HBO, NBCUniversal, Fox, and Disney. ACE has claimed that Omniverse does not have the rights to distribute the channels that they resell to companies like SiliconDust.

In February, that claim became a lawsuit, and while the result of this legal action is still pending, presumably SiliconDust has been advised that it should cut ties with Omniverse before it too becomes embroiled in a suit of its own.

Unfortunately, this leaves HDHomeRun customers to seek out a new streaming TV provider if they want to continue to supplement their free, OTA HD broadcasts, which remains the primary reason to own an HDHomeRun OTA receiver.

The canceled service doesn’t affect any other aspect of the HDHomeRun product, or the cloud-based DVR option that some customers avail themselves of, and it won’t affect those who use an HDHomeRun receiver with a Plex Media Server for an augmented, free OTA experience. The cancellation could, however, reduce demand for SiliconDust’s two new DVR products, which it announced at CES. With up to 2TB of local DVR storage, they’re a good solution for those with access to lots of content — say, from a 45-channel live streaming service — but perhaps unnecessary for those with only a few OTA channels to choose from.

If you’re one of the affected HDHomeRun customers, there are other options for receiving live streaming TV channels, at similar prices to HDHomeRun Premium TV. Sling TV’s Blue package, for instance, offers 49 cable channels for $25 per month, though it notably lacks HDHomeRun Premium TV’s inclusion of ESPN, a major draw for sports fans.

This might not be the end of the road for HDHomeRun’s live streaming TV ambitions. With more and more legitimate live streaming products being launched all the time, SiliconDust might soon be able to offer its customers a new option.

We’ll let you know if and when that happens.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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