Back in December last year, HybridTV – the company behind TiVo in Australia - launched CASPA, a video on demand portal that offered both movies and TV shows to be downloaded direct to the TiVo device for watching on your terms. But it turns out that was just the start, with HybridTV CEO Robbee Minicola telling us that they're looking to expand the CASPA service well beyond the TiVo.
"By Christmas, CASPA will be on devices other than the TiVo" Minicola told us during an interview, before explaining:
"We built CASPA for TiVo - that was our goal. Make TiVo even better, and add to the content proposition, which was the first phase of CASPA. But as we can see, more and more devices are getting Internet connected, and more and more TVs are getting PVR functionality, we sat back and thought, 'We better look at this'.
"It's almost like the greengrocer selling flowers out the front [of their store]while the poor florist down the road is saying, 'Hey what are you doing? You're cutting my lunch. I'm not selling apples out the front of my store, why are you selling flowers out the front of your store?'
"So we're looking back and we're saying, 'The TV manufacturers are putting PVR functionality into their TVs and we're sitting here selling the best PVR in the world, but if they've already got PVR functionality on their TV, what's that doing to us?'
"So then we thought 'Hang on a minute. If they're going to sell flowers in front of the veggie shop, then I think we better sell veggies in front of the flower shop'. So that's why we've gone and talked to every internet connected device to see and get CASPA ordered there."
Not only are they trying to get CASPA onto ever internet enabled device in the home, they also hope to create the de facto video on demand ecosystem in the home, according to Minicola.
"If I'm watching a movie on my TiVo with Caspa on my main TV and then I go into the bedroom and I decide that I want to finish watching that movie on my internet connected TV, I want to be able to do that with one account. I don't want to have to switch between this app on this TV and that app on that TV and this app on this device...
"Our dream is that you could be watching a movie, say Revolutionary Road or Julia and Julia, on your widget television in the living room, and in your living room your slate is actually your universal remote. And then you get tired and you want to go the bedroom, all you do is pick up exactly where you left off in that stream on your slate when you're sitting in bed. And what was your universal remote in the living room is now your little mini screen in the bedroom."
One of the challenges with taking CASPA, a download VOD service, to multiple internet connected devices is moving it to a streaming technology, especially the challenges of getting the different devices to talk to eachother for the best user experience.
Considering that IPTV and VOD are the hot new battlegrounds for TV manufacturers, with each manufacturer offering up a different content flavour, a universal system for TV shows and movies sounds pretty decent. Especially if the unmetered partnerships HybridTV currently have in place with ISPs like Internode, iiNet and iPrimus all continue to be valid for the service as it appears on multiple devices.