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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 23, 2014

Qplay Throws Lot in with Google Chromecast

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Qplay, maker of a $49 video streaming box, has decided to turn to Google Chromecast for its hardware strategy, leaving its original box plan on the sidelines.

The startup was founded by TiVo (News - Alert) co-founders Mike Ramsay and Jim Barton, mostly as an app that allows users to subscribe to content feeds—cleverly dubbed Qs, short for “queues.” Available content includes YouTube channels, Facebook videos from friends, and professional content from Bloomberg (News - Alert) and Comedy Central. The idea is to create a linear feel to the OTT experience as the service collates all subscribed feeds into one central location—a bit like an RSS feed.

It also launched its own over-the-top (OTT) set-top into the mix to allow users to send that content to te living room screen. However, it got bogged down by a lack of additional content deals—for instance, it hasn’t been able to add a Netflix or Hulu (News - Alert) Plus app to its box. So, faced with an increasingly tough field of competition, which includes Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, it has decided on a repositioning.

To wit, the company announced that it has added the ability to “cast” video content to Chromecast as part of its iPad app.

“It brings the QPlay software to a large group of consumers,” said Qplay CEO Phil Peterson during an interview with GigaOm. “We are definitely going to be a software and services-based company,” with the likely addition of other device support as time goes on.

It’s also making a play beyond long-form content as another differentiator. “The next big shift in entertainment is going to be short form video,” Qplay spokesperson Ashley Martin-Golis told the tech site.

In the end, Qplay’s move from its own hardware to Chromecast is a smart one, since the company couldn’t compete against Google (News - Alert) with its own, much more limited hardware. But now that it has embraced Chromecast, it will also have to compete with plenty of other apps for that platform, which puts pressure on the company to get its mobile experience right.

Nearly 16 million people in the United States watched the country’s World Cup opener on television.

Nielsen says 11.1 million people who saw the U.S. team beat Ghana on ESPN (News - Alert) on Monday represented that network’s biggest audience for a soccer match. Nielsen says an additional 4.8 million people watched the Spanish-language broadcast on Univision.

That’s down from the 17.3 million who saw the first US match in the 2010 tournament, against England, which was shown on ABC and Univision on a Saturday afternoon. Four years ago, 19.7 million people watched the U.S.-Ghana match in the knockout round, which ended the United States’ run in the tournament and was also shown on ABC and Univision on a Saturday afternoon.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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