TiVo founders launch Qplay -- a more expensive and limited Chromecast alternative

The wires going to my TV look like a giant ball of black spaghetti. I have a TiVo, Blu-Ray player, Chromecast, Wii, Android box and Roku connected. While they all have a unique benefit, much functionality is duplicated. This is frustrating because it can be difficult to pick which device to use. If I want to watch Netflix, I will have to roll a 12-sided die from Dungeons and Dragons to select one of them.

Today, the founders of TiVo announce yet another inexpensive streaming media box -- the Qplay. While it has some unique tricks, it also appears to be a functionality duplicator. Heck, it is arguably just a more expensive Chromecast.

"In 1997, Jim Barton and I founded TiVo with the mission to put TV viewers in control of their viewing experience. The first time we were able to pause live TV was a magic moment when we realized we had created something that had the potential to change TV viewing for good. That was a thrill! Our customers, through their enthusiasm for our product, demanded change and established DVRs as an essential part of TV viewing", says Mike Ramsay, Qplay.

Ramsay further explains, "today we are in a very different world of video entertainment. The flexibility and openness of the Internet has the potential to dramatically change the entire video experience. This potential is what excited Jim and me to attack this new frontier. We want to create a consumer experience with Internet video that is so compelling and relevant to today's modern audience that it has the potential to redefine video entertainment going forward. This is the 'big idea' that convinced us to start a new company and recruit a team of exceptionally talented engineers who shared our vision".

The problem with Qplay is that the "vision" has already been realized -- it is called a Chromecast. Yes, this $50 box is the same concept as the $35 Chromecast -- stream media to your TV, but controlled by a smartphone or tablet. However, while Google's device works with both iOS and Android, this is an iPad-only affair.

Where Qplay seems unique, is the ability to curate your own "channels" for uninterrupted playback of playlists. You can then share these channels with friends. However, this is a feature that can be added to any of the existing media boxes, including the Chromecast. Essentially, Google or a third-party could add this functionality tomorrow.

I wish Qplay all the luck in the world. However, being more expensive than Chromecast and working with less devices, it seems to be dead on arrival.

Do you think this will be a success? Tell me in the comments.

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