What the heck is QPlay and how will it stand out from the streaming hardware crowd?

Credit: Source: FCC

There are an awful lot of ways to stream video on your TV these days: Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, game consoles, smart TVs, Tivo...that list is off the top of my head and I'm sure I missed a few.

Is there room for one more? Apparently the folks at InVisioneer think so. The company (whose CEO and President are Tivo co-founders Michael Ramsay and Jim Barton, respectively) is working on something called QPlay, according to GigaOm and ZatzNotFunny.

Zatz noticed an FCC filing and deducted that the device would be used to stream YouTube and other web video to the TV. The User Manual included in the FCC filing indicates the device works in conjunction with an iPad, leading Dave Zatz to suggest the device was similar in some ways to the ChromeCast.

Over at GigaOm, Janko Roettgers mostly agrees with Zatz but says he has heard that QPlay will also deliver premium content from sources such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

And that's pretty much all anyone (well, anyone who is talking anyway) knows about QPlay.

I've been trying to imagine what InVisioneer could offer that would help QPlay stand out in the crowd of streaming services. The only thing I could come up with is combining a streaming player with a dedicated social video app. I'm imagining something like IntoNow or even GetGlue but baked right into the device.

So you could be watching something on your QPlay and find yourself loving it, and by just tapping a button on your iPad's QPlay app it would send a recommendation to your friends. Eventually as QPlay 'learns' your likes and dislikes, you'll get recommendations based on content your friends who have similar likes and dislikes enjoyed. There could also be a recommendation engine built in that could recommend content from many sources.

That's all I've got and I'm just wildly speculating. I just think that QPlay has to be something other than just a streaming device if it's going to attract attention away from Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast.

Maybe you have a better guess than I do, though. If so, please leave a comment and share your thoughts. If not, maybe we'll learn more at CES.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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