New HDHomeRun Promises Tuner Support around the Home
Last month, we covered SiliconDust’s announcement about what they’re calling Project:Connect to deliver premium cable content to DLNA devices around the home. This capability will be available initially to existing HDHomeRun Prime customers through a firmware update we learned about in December. The tuners will be seen on DLNA players and renderers, with video streaming in MPEG-2 format. SiliconDust had hoped to deliver the firmware updates enabling this capability by the end of last month, but they now have a specific beta delivery target of Thursday, January 17.
Users will see the HDHomeRun as a source on their DLNA devices, comprising two primary folders: Cable TV and Premium Cable TV. Between the MPEG-2 format and the DRM technology requirements, premium content playback may be limited to just a few devices like the PS3 and a handful of TVs, though many DLNA-enabled TVs, Blu-ray players, and streaming devices will play the non-premium content that is not marked as protected.
SiliconDust’s big announcements this week at CES focused around new devices and apps. On the hardware side, we should expect to see three new HDHomeRun tuners. The new HDHR4-CC is a four-tuner networked CableCARD tuner with on-board hardware h.264 encoding, which is much better for device compatibility and bandwidth.
For Clear QAM and ATSC over-the-air customers, the HDHR4-US offers two network tuners with hardware h.264 encoding. A third device will provide similar capabilities to European customers.
Also announced at CES, HDHomeRun apps will soon be available on tablets, enabling full, mobile playback capability on your home network. Elgato created a third-party iPad app for the HDHomeRun Prime a year or two ago, but its capabilities were limited and the $17.99 pricing strategy was absurd. The new apps, starting with Android tablets are being developed in house and are expected to debut at a much more reasonable price point.
Both the new CableCARD tuners and the apps show SiliconDust’s continued commitment to CableCARD as a key source for content around the home. These devices enabling protected content streaming never before possible, and we have reason to believe that there’s much more coming down the road, including rich content discovery experiences with program and channel meta data.
SiliconDust expects to deliver both the new tuners and the Android app in the earlier part of 2013, and we could see them as early as the end of quarter 1. Pricing has not yet been announced. Apps for other platforms, including the iPad, will follow.