New York City based K2B Inc. announced the launch of TV2Me(TM) which is the first breakthrough product to reliably allow cable and satellite television subscribers to space-shift their entire range of subscribed channels to anywhere they travel, without sacrificing quality.
TV2Me’s powerful dedicated video server runs like an appliance, without a monitor, keyboard or mouse, and enables its owner to control channels and view them using the Internet. The server’s hookup consists simply of plugging in video and stereo audio, and a broadband Internet connection. Programs can then be watched from anywhere the owner travels on a PC, large-screen monitor,, laptop or PDA.
“Transporting a handful of selected television channels from one place to another has become routine,” said TV2Me’s developer Ken Schaffer, who is also chief executive officer of K2B. “Shifting the entire telemedia environment of a far-away city is new and exciting.”
TV2Me was introduced to cutting-edge customers beginning in the summer of 2003, and is currently in use on 4 continents. Units are priced from $3,450. Typical customers are business leaders, entertainers, government agencies, diplomats and sports fans.
“There are many ways to use this capability,” said Schaffer. “For example, a New Yorker visiting Prague can watch any of his favorite programs, selecting from the more than 200 channels offered by his cable company, or a Russian businessman can watch 66 channels of Moscow cable live from his midtown Manhattan hotel room.” TV2Me also has appeal amongst broadcast companies, educators, advertising agencies and diplomatic communities throughout the world.
Reviews of TV2Me have been extremely positive. In a comparison of TV2Me and its only competitor, Sony’s LocationFree TV, The New York Times reported that “Mr. Schaffer’s unit transmits a clearer picture over the Internet … a clear step above that of Sony.”
PBS.org’s technology guru Robert X. Cringley wrote:
“Sending live TV over the Internet is a very difficult thing to do, especially over distances like that from Moscow to New York. There are live TV feeds from Moscow available today, and they look terrible no matter how much bandwidth you have. What blew me away this week when I saw a demo of TV2Me was the quality of the image. TV2Me’s feed, running at an average of 384 kilobits-per-second, looks like TV. When you change channels to any of the 60 or so on the Moscow cable system, it takes about 10 seconds to rebuffer, and then you have TV. Amazing!” (See Robert X. Cringley’s PBS review: here.)
Inventor Ken Schaffer is renowned for prior inventions including the wireless guitar and microphones first used by the Rolling Stones and now standard equipment for most major performers, and his unique satellite tracking systems. While the Cold War was raging, Schaffer’s satellite systems allowed U.S. scholars and agencies to monitor a single channel of the internal television of the former Soviet Union. As a struggling start-up, The Discovery Channel’s decision to use Schaffer’s satellite tracking system to carry an unprecedented week of live Soviet television resulted in a Golden Ace Award and 10 million additional subscribers.