Skip to main content

CES 2008: XStreamHD: High-Resolution, Low Detail

Las Vegas -- XStreamHD, a privately backed company that aims to create a new high-quality, satellite-based system to deliver HD content to the home, announced strategic partners and described its hardware setup at a briefing at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show here but gave no details on the pricing structure for the service or which studios will be providing content.

XStreamHD will rely on a home media server equipped with 2 terabytes of storage, which will be manufactured with hard drives from SeaGate Technology and support the 7.1-channel DTS-HD Master Audio technology developed by DTS.

It will pull down 1080p (progressive) content from a small satellite dish -- XStreamHD won’t say what type of satellite frequencies it will use -- as well as off-air 720p and 1080i (interlaced) HD signals using three ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) tuners.

The system then relies on a gigabit-Ethernet home network to transport content at speeds up to 100 megabits per second to receivers that connect to HD sets through HDMI (HD multimedia interface) connections.

According to XStreamHD founder and CEO George Gonzalez, the system will deliver movies that consumers request in advance as digital files to the media server. He didn’t announce any plans to offer cable-network programming through the service, although he said that was possible.

The service will become available in early fourth-quarter 2008. XStreamHD will not be sold in retail stores, but will instead be marketed directly to consumers online for $399, with home-theater installers providing optional installation of the satellite dish and the home network. Pricing wasn’t disclosed, although Gonzalez said it could offer a hybrid model of subscription and rental pricing.

Movie star Michael Douglas, an investor in McLean, Va.-based XStreamHD, made an appearance on the company’s behalf and said its plan to deliver movies as files in full 1080-line-progressive HD resolution with 7.1-channel digital audio should wow consumers.

“It’s as close to being in the movie theater as you’re going to get,” Douglas added.