Hey, Apple, here's a company to buy: XStreamHD
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Hey, Apple, here's a company to buy: XStreamHD

Well, Apple, if you're not going to support Blu-ray playback, if you're determined that iTunes be the alpha and omega of music/movie/video/etc. rental and purchasing, and if you ever get serious about dominating the living room, maybe you should consider buying XStream HD (http://www.xstreamhd.com).

The company's goal is to oversee a major shift distribution of high-definition (HD) content to and throughout consumers’ homes by offering the first transport network to deliver Full 1080p HD video and 7.1 channels of lossless audio directly to the home. XStreamHD’s network -- first announced in 2008 -- utilizes existing geosynchronous satellites to transport HD content to its proprietary media server via a small aperture DTH satellite antenna for distribution to multiple media portals throughout the home.

Consumers will no longer have to endure tedious Internet downloads, wait in midnight lines, or manage mail delivery of Blu-ray discs thanks to XStreamHD’s revolutionary and exclusive Pre-Fetched Entertainment (PFE) model, according to George Gonzalez, founder and CEO of XStreamHD. PFE automatically delivers just-released HD entertainment directly to the XStreamHD Media Server in the home, enabling consumers to enjoy immediate multi-room access to the highest quality content the moment it is released by the studio for XStreamHD home release, he adds.

XStreamHD has entered into a long-term satellite service agreement with EchoStar Satellite Services L.L.C., a subsidiary of EchoStar Corp and is using satellite capacity from the EchoStar-leased AMC-16 satellite that's centrally located at 85 degrees west longitude. This enables XStreamHD to offer exceptional coverage across North America. Under the terms of the agreement, XStreamHD will increase its capacity on the AMC-16 satellite as the company’s transport needs grow over time. The two companies have been working together for the past two years as XStreamHD completed the operational testing of its transport technology.

Also, XStream HD has entered into a long-term electronic sell-through and video-on-demand home entertainment distribution agreement with Lionsgate, a studio and distributor of motion pictures. The agreement will enable XStreamHD to offer its customers the ability to digitally purchase or rent, the latest HD releases from Lionsgate, as well as provide access to Lionsgate’s content library of over 12,000 titles.

So how does it work? XStreamHD broadcasts over common, low-power satellites and a 2.5-foot dish on your roof nabs the signals. A server box then users specialized receiver chips to purportedly weed out interference and saves up to 160 films.

The server can send content to up to four TVs via networked receivers such as XStream HD's own or a PlayStation 3 (and, if Apple bought XStreamHD, a next gen Apple TV, perhaps).

Getting set up with XStreamHD costs US$400 for a "starter package." Alas, that doesn't include a satellite dish or installation, which XStreamHD says will cost about $125. There's a $10 monthly fee, plus the cost per title. XStreamHD says movie prices will be similar to Amazon Video On Demand and iTunes, which charge $4-$5 for HD movie rentals. The company also plans on adding on-demand videogames.

Now let's say that Apple buys XStreamHD, first they should include the satellite dish with the starter package. And they should eliminate the 10 bucks per month fee. Why should I pay for the "privilege" of renting movies from a company? I'd also want to be able to buy movies and either: a) save them in "the cloud"; b) burn 'em to disk, or c) both.

XStreamHD is a promising idea, but still has lots of kinks left to work out. And if any company can work out the glitches, it's Apple.

And if Steve Jobs is serious about eliminating CDS, DVDs and Blu-rays (and he seems pretty adamant, perhaps obsessed with this), something like XStreamHD may be necessary.

-- Dennis Sellers

 
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