CES Report: Fredio App Brings Free Video the Television
Fredio is the simple visual filter for streaming premium video that many have been waiting for. But will the networks put up a fight?
Watch premium full-length television shows on your television. That's the idea behind Fredio (pronounced FREE-dio), a new service making its public debut at International CES. Fredio is a connected TV app that should appear in the LG and Samsung app stores sometime this quarter. Strictly a filter for free content, it lets viewers find and play premium video that's already available for free streaming.
When viewers open the Fredio app, they see a list of premium broadcast and cable networks. They choose one and then get a visual list of shows available from that network's website. The list includes the number of episodes of each title available. After they click a show, they get a list of the episodes, with a short description and the length for each.
Once the viewer clicks to play an episode, they get the option to browse the web page with an on-screen browser or play the video full-screen. After they click play the video, Fredio steps out of the equation; the viewer streams the video directly from the site.
Creating those lists of episodes is harder than it looks, and the Fredio developers have so far indexed only 11 networks. Plus there's the complexity of getting everything to stream correctly on a connected TV platform: getting the ads to play correctly has been a challenge. The app's usefulness will grow as the team adds dozens or hundreds more channels in the future.
Fredio is a one-year-old venture capital-backed startup holding private meetings at International CES. It's team still wonders how the world will great its product. Will the broadcasters feel threatened? Will consumers find it useful? Is the connected television the best platform for Fredio? The company plans to create iOS and Android apps sometime this year, for mobile viewing. A browser interface is now live, for anyone who wants to give Fredio a try.