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VidiPath Technology from DLNA

What is the worst part about subscription television service? Ask ten people and you may get a few different answers, but odds are a few of them would agree on the cost of the service. Not just the service, but all the additional fees, especially the fees to have a set top box in the rooms where you want to watch TV.  Can it really cost the provider that much more to let you watch in a second room? You’re already paying for the service.

The DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is hoping their new VidiPath technology will make that easier on you. The plan for VidiPath is to let you view all of your pay TV content on multiple TVs throughout your home without the need to rent additional set-top boxes for each room. DLNA technology is certified and available on over four billion devices worldwide. Many of us have been using it for years to stream content, movies and music, from computers or network drives to TVs and other connected devices.

The addition of VidiPath technology opens up the possibilities of what you can stream over your DLNA connections.  According to DLNA executive director Donna Moore, “with the addition of VidiPath, DLNA has expanded its ecosystem to include the secure delivery of subscription-TV content.” So you can stream pretty much anything now, from movies stored on your video server to live content from your cable provider, to any certified device in your home.

The technology will work over wired and wireless network connections (using WiFi), so you’ll be able to play content on wireless devices like tablets and smartphones in addition to TVs, game consoles, computers and other set top boxes. We’re hearing that the first VidiPath certified devices should come to market this quarter, so we should start to see them pop up later this month. Of course you’ll need a VidiPath certified device from your provider, but after that you can add any VidiPath certified playback device to get the content in any room you want.

Of course the initiative is led by the DLNA, but it has some pretty solid logos backing it as well. Providers Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications are in with both feet and have already committed to having VidiPath enabled set-top boxes or gateways available to their subscribers. Sony, Samsung and Broadcom are onboard as well. So we’d expect to see a smattering of televisions, tablets and other devices hitting the shelves soon.

A single VidiPath certified set-top box or gateway from a traditional pay TV provider like your cable company, or satellite provider will stream all the content you pay for, including High Definition content, over WiFi. So if you have a VidiPath certified device that can get on WiFI, that device instantly becomes a live TV viewer. Providers and manufacturers are working together to provide a consistent usage experience across all devices, including access to the program guide and, we’re hoping, all recorded DVR content, although we haven’t seen that stated anywhere.

No word on whether you’ll be able to pause or rewind live TV from a VidiPath player.  Also not sure if you’ll be able to initiate recordings. Also no word on how many devices will be able to stream simultaneously – how many rooms can be watching TV at the same time. We’re certain this information will come to light as devices start to hit the market.

If VidiPath players are fully functional, just like you get from your provider’s multi-room boxes in a whole house DVR setup, the technology could be a game changer. No more multi-room DVRs, just a standard DVR from any provider that would support VidiPath and you’d be responsible for adding your own playback devices to connect to it. Pay TV providers would have to find other features to differentiate on. That’s exciting.

Download Episode #677

Posted by The HT Guys, March 5, 2015 10:32 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.