SiliconDust, best known as the maker of its HDHomeRun connected TV tuners, is getting ready to pitch itself as a one-shop-stop for would-be cord cutters. The company publicly launched its Sling TV-like internet TV service Thursday, and complete with a 2-week free trial for new subscribers.
Consumers who haven’t used the service before also get 2 months of free DVR service, which can be used to record both over-the-air programming as well as the company’s pay TV service. The company also introduced some modest tweaks to its app, which brings together its pay TV service as well as over-the-air broadcast feeds in the same interface.
SiliconDust began over a decade ago with the development of networked TV tuners, which can be used to stream broadcast TV programming from networks like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox to smart TVs, streaming sticks and mobile devices. Three years ago, the company introduced its own DVR software, which allowed HDHomeRun owners to record shows from these networks on their own network-connected storage devices.
And this summer, the company began to quietly test its very own cable-like service, streaming 45 channels including ESPN, CNN, Fox News and TNT. The cable-like bundle costs $34 a month, and is similar to other-the top offerings like Sling TV and DirecTV Now, with a few key differences: HDHomeRun Premium TV subscribers need to own one of the company’s TV tuners to access the service, and streaming live TV programming occupies one of the device’s TV tuners — something that SiliconDust CEO Theodore Head explained as a way to make sure that the device wasn’t running into capacity issues.
Another difference: HDHomeRun Premium TV can be recorded with the company’s DVR software, just like over-the-air programming — which includes the ability to skip commercials.
Head said that the company planned to market its tuners, DVR service and Premium TV together, but still sell them separately to give users a choice. The company also planned to introduce further content additions down the road, and stream more programming to its users. “This is just the beginning,” he said.