DivX and LG Bring Streaming TV, No Box Required

DivX Inc. and LG Electronics announced a partnership this morning that will bring DivX TV to a variety of LG Blu-ray players and TVs in North America. The new devices should be available to consumers in the later half of this year, and the platform will be available as an update to current connected LG Blu-ray players.

While there's currently a huge growth in the number of set-top devices available to bring streamed content to the family room, connected TVs make those boxes look like an interim solution. The DivX TV platform has agreements with more than 70 online content providers including Next New Networks, BlipTV, Revision 3, Associated Press, TED, CNET, DailyMotion, and Rhapsody. DivX TV will be one of the services available in LG's NetCast system, which also provides access to NetFlix and Vudu content.


In an interview, Dave Holland, product marketing manager for DivX TV, said that the platform's quick access and easy user interface are what differentiate it from competing streaming solutions. While other platforms require users to open widgets to access content, DivX TV lets them change content as easily as with broadcast TV.

"It's been designed from the beginning to get content from a number of sources in a seamless way," Holland says.

The content available through DivX TV will include short web videos, TV shows, and premium Hollywood content. Users will be able to access current weather and stock information through included widgets. They'll also be able to stream music from Pandora and Rhapsody. A Twitter application is currently in development, although Holland isn't sure what features will be in the final release. While it will likely show tweets to a user's personal account and let them subscribe to feeds, he's currently doing consumer research to see if people want the ability to send tweets from their TVs, and whether or not the app should be full-screen.

For premium content, DivX TV will let users rent or purchase movies from CinemaNow. Holland says that the platform will provide access to CinemaNow's full library of streamed content, although he wasn't sure how many titles will be available. When users purchase content from CinemaNow, it will be available in their digital locker, so they can access and download it from their computer as well as watch it on their televisions.

The DivX TV platform will also provide access to subscription channels serving a niche audience. Holland says that right now it's limited to some Persian and Arabic language content. There's a possibility that the platform will also allow access to adult material. "I know there's a demand there," he says, adding that the platform has protective parental controls.

While DivX has created this platform, that doesn't mean that all the content on it will be in the DivX format. Programs from streaming providers will be left in their original form, and the LG TVs will support a variety of video formats. Some of the CinemaNow titles will be in DivX, but Holland couldn't say how many.

The televisions will also be able to stream locally stored content from home computers or storage devices. Holland wasn't able to say how many LG TVs and Blu-ray players will offer DivX TV, what the price range will be, or whether or not they'll offer Wi-Fi connectivity.

While LG is the launch partner for DivX TV, Holland notes that the company plans to grow the platform and is looking for potential candidates. DivX is focusing on living room devices for now, he says, but plans to expand into the mobile space. The company is seeing more interest in Asia, he notes, where the DivX format has greater penetration.

People visiting the CES expo in Las Vegas can take a look at the DivX TV platform at a private press event tomorrow night at the Moon nightclub in the Palms hotel and casino. It will be shown publicly at the LG booth at CES and in DivX's private meeting rooms in the south hall.

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