Free Zinc Browser and Pro Version of ZvBox Breathe New Life into ZeeVee’s Internet Video Technology

3/24/09Follow @wroush

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all the content is still standard-definition, because they can’t afford to encode it in HD—so now the video looks even worse than before,” Odryna says.

The problem is that the standard encoder/modulators needed to broadcast high-definition digital signals from an Internet-connected PC, a TiVo, or a Blu-Ray player over an internal coaxial-cable network cost $20,000 to $30,000. But the ZvPro 250, the new product ZeeVee built to take advantage of this institutional market, can do the same thing for a tenth as much, says Odryna.

ZeeVee launched the ZvPro 250 just three weeks ago. “The trial units have had great success,” Odryna says. “Now it’s all about education and training.”

For sophisticated home users, ZeeVee is also about to introduce an upgraded version of the ZvBox 100. Labeleded the ZvBox 150, it can be plugged into video components such as Blu-Ray players as well as PCs connected to the Internet. Odryna expects that the ZvBox 150 will appeal to home-theater owners who also want to watch recorded high-definition content on other TVs in their homes.

Browsing TV episodes with ZincBut the commercial market’s proven eagerness for a low-cost PC-to-cable encoder means that the ZvPro 250 is now ZeeVee’s “number one focus,” says Odryna. “We’ve moved our market and we’re getting some great response.”

The free Zinc browser, by contrast, won’t bring in any revenue. But Odryna says it’s actually a relatively low-cost way for ZeeVee to stay in the home Internet video game. “Now that we are separating out these three pieces [Zinc, the Zvbox, and the ZvPro], you are going to want to get your Internet video using Zinc, and I hope in the future to monetize that by selling you some hardware,” Odryna says. “But what we are trying to do right now is just build a great tool for people to use at this time of great change. If people like it, we will have a place at the table.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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