An Ottawa startup is aiming to give television viewers who want to cut the cord that binds them to traditional content providers the ultimate device: a digital recorder that streams and records programming from dozens of local high-definition stations that are available over the air.
Nuvyyo brought its Tablo personal digital recorder to the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas earlier this year, attracting a lot of attention at a time when consumers are looking for alternatives to cable.
Tablo is a small DVR-like device that plugs into an over-the-air HDTV antenna and transmits the signal to any device that is connected to the Tablo or the internet. This includes iPads and other tablets, smartphones, PCs and televisions that outfitted with Apple TV or Google Chromecast.
Content can be recorded on the Tablo and viewed later or streamed live. A software interface makes it easy to find the signal you want and stream it when you want it.
'There is great content out there. It’s essentially free. Everybody can pull it in' - Nuvyyo CEO Grant Hall
"It's not just about the TV these days," says Nuvyyo CEO Grant Hall. "It’s really about whatever device you have and wherever you are, enabling you to enjoy that live and recorded programming wherever you want to."
An Indiegogo campaign helped pay for the first major production run of the company’s devices, which will be shipped by the end of this month.
U.S. court rejects copyright argument
All the major Canadian networks and, if you are close to the U.S. border, American networks such as CBS, NBC and Fox, are available as HD signals over the air.
"There is great content out there," Hall told CBC News. "It’s essentially free. Everybody can pull it in."
Nuvyyo’s business plan includes eventually introducing subscription fees for the Tablo service.
Consumers have been getting more and more fed up with cable and satellite subscription services, both because of their restrictive packages and their bewildering fee structures.
For these disgruntled TV watchers, having a device that enables them to cut the cord without losing access to their favourite programs, including the local news, is an attractive option.
Nuvyyo’s method of harnessing over-the-air TV is being tested in U.S. courts.
Last year, U.S. web-based broadcaster Aereo won a major court case against the TV networks, which sought to block its access to their channels, saying it was infringing on copyright. A U.S. appeals court ruled it could continue to offer over-the-air HD TV signal to consumers.
Last month the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a case to test whether Aereo's streaming video is indeed legal.