Simple.TV Lets Users Share Recorded Shows

Simple.TV, maker of a small line of DVRs that can capture over-the-air TV signals or unencrypted cable TV, has added a feature that is sure to be a hit among so-called cord-cutters – the ability to share recordings with up to five friends.

While Simple.TV users can send invitations to a broader group, only five invitees can access recordings at the same time, explained Simple.TV CEO Mark Ely. Authenticated guests can playback those shared recordings via Simple.TV’s Web platform or through the company’s apps for smartphones, tablets and Roku devices.

The new DVR-sharing feature is supported by Simple.TV’s full product line, including its latest product, which supports two tuners and was developed in partnership with SiliconDust. Simple.TV’s original model, spawned from a successful Kickstarter campaign, is outfitted with one tuner.

The new sharing feature will give Simple.TV users a way to share content with friends and family and give those groups a taste of the company’s product. Simple.TV won’t say how many customers it has, but Ely said Simple.TV’s base tends to skew toward tech enthusiasts, cord-cutters, as well as consumers who are seeking an alternative to cable.

Ely estimates that three-fourths of Simple.TV’s customers use an antenna, while one-quarter have a cable subscription. He said more than 90% of Simple.TV customers are also Netflix subscribers.  

Simple.TV sells its two-tuner DVR/video server for $199.99, but couples that with an optional subscription service ($49 per year, or $149 for a lifetime subscription) that includes access to the device’s  more advanced features, including the ability to schedule series recordings and enabling remote streaming and the new sharing element.

Ely believes that Simple.TV’s new sharing feature is on solid legal ground, as the device doesn’t provide a digital copy of any recorded shows but instead streams that recorded content to authorized users.

Looking ahead, Simple.TV is looking to develop a version of its product for the European market. In the U.S., the company is also starting to check into how it can support encrypted cable formats, but that work is in the early stages, Ely said.