I was sniffing around TGB this morning and I came across a thread pointing me at a new (still in beta) Media Center/iOS crossover application. Simple TV is, well, simple really. The application runs in the background on your HTPC. Basically, the app watches your recorded TV folder and as new shows are recorded, it converts them to an iOS friendly format. Once it has converted a show, you can log into the website and see a list of shows which can then be subscribed to like podcasts in iTunes. When a new episode of a show is recorded, iTunes, just as with a podcast, will download the new episode (after conversion) and sync it to your device. Simple as that.
So far the beta is working as advertised for me. With only two shows converted so far, I’ve been able to subscribe in iTunes without any trouble. The episodes instantly started downloading and synced right up the next time I plugged in my iPod. The application deletes the files it creates when you delete the actual recorded TV episode which is a great feature as you don’t have to worry about stacking your drive up with stuff you’ve already seen. At this point, it really seems like a setup and forget type of service. That’s a big plus in its favor. After you’ve subscribed to the shows you want you won’t really have to worry about anything else.
Again, Simple TV is still in beta and as such it’s free for the time being. While I’m not sure what the pricing model will look like once the application goes live, the developer mentioned a subscription service. With services like Orb available for free, I’m not sure a subscription will work. I’m happy to pay one time for an application but not monthly. As well, I certainly hope that they are working on ways to send these converted files to other podcatchers as Android handsets are quickly overtaking Apple devices and it would be a shame to leave those users out in the cold.