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TiVo Co-Founders Prep ‘Qplay’

With the multitude of video streamers already on the market, is there room for at least one more? Two TiVo co-founders apparently think so.

Over at the ZatzNotFunny blog, Dave Zatz has been tracking the stealthy movements of InVisioneer, a San Jose-based company started up by Jim Barton and Michael Ramsay that counts Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers among its early backers. So far, Zatz has figured out that the pair, both late of TiVo, is developing the Qplay TV Adapter, a USB-powered video streaming device. And, as Zatz’s further sleuthing has uncovered, it is becoming increasingly evident that Qplay will be the consumer brand that will be carried forward. 

While there’s not much evidence pointing to Qplay’s specific plans, GigaOm reported that Netflix and Hulu Plus will be among the premium-level video services that will be supported by the TV adapter.

Zatz also uncovered an updated description of Qplay, which has recently been wiped from the Web. However, this Google cache of an apparent early sign-up page for the coming product helpfully keeps that evidence alive, explaining that “many incumbent players see Internet video as competitive and therefore create barriers to adoption. For most people, playing this content on your tablet can be a chore and getting it to your TV is next to impossible…Qplay will harness the power of the Internet to give consumers new ways to discover, play and share video content. We can’t wait to show you what’s coming in early 2014.”

I’ve reached out to InVisioneer/Qplay for more detail on their plans and will offer an update once more is known. But they are definitely in hiring mode, claiming that successful candidates will “work and learn from colleagues who have been pivotal to the success of TiVo, Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, PayPal, Comcast and YouTube.”

But much more about InVisioneer’s ambitions should be known fairly soon. As Zatz points out, the “early 2014” timeframe is an indication that the startup plans to make its big reveal at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

And it will be interesting to see how they think they can differentiate themselves and stand out in an already crowded, hyper-competitive market of video streamers and video discovery tools. While aggregating content from Netflix and Hulu Plus is an important component to any over-the-top video strategy, they are also simple table stakes for everyone who’s in this market. And thanks to a growing family of Roku devices as well as the new (and relatively cheap) Google Chromecast adapter, finding and retrieving Web video and shuttling it to the TV is hardly much of a chore anymore.