Apple TV, Roku players, Fire TV sticks and a handful of other streaming devices are invading our homes. Despite the different ecosystems, most of these set-top add-ons carry out the same task and are limited to a handful of streaming services. While TiVo has made some strides in bridging the gap between online and traditional content, it still isn’t perfect.
Instead of introducing another streaming aggregate, a startup by the name of GENII has developed a new media player, called CAST, that collects feeds from all your sources and combines them in one location. The kicker? You can stream those sources to other rooms in your house or to your friend’s living room as long as they also have a CAST. Sounds too good to be true, right?
GENII says its perfectly legal.
There are three main pieces to GENII’s CAST system. First, it acts as a central hub for all of your entertainment sources. A couple of HDMI inputs allow users to bring in whatever source they desire, which can then be swapped back and forth as if changing your inputs on a television.
CAST can also “beam” any of those connected sources to other HDTVs, laptops, mobile devices or even other hubs at a friend or family member’s home. This allows other CAST users who may not have access to a specific channel to watch your live broadcast. Finally, CAST works with an optional webcam to talk with your friends while you watch a show. There is also full chat functionality within the app.
So how is all of this legal? Well, according to GENII’s interpretation of copyright laws, there isn’t an issue. CAST is only able to beam a signal to six total devices at a time, and as the law states, as long as those are “a normal circle of family and acquaintances”, then there isn’t an issue. GENII is obviously leaving it to users to only utilize its system in that manner.
Regardless of legalities, the idea behind this set-top streamer is rather intriguing. Instead of opting to be another Chromecast or Roku, GENII is thinking outside of the box here. It’s unclear if the general public would be willing to take on this type of social entertainment experience, but early signs are positive.
CAST has raised just over $100,000 on Kickstarter, doubling its initial goal. Currently, a pledge of $99 will deliver early bird pricing on a CAST system without a camera next year. Bumping up to $199 adds a camera, HDMI streaming stick enabling the full experience out of the box.
Be sure to take a look at our round-up of the best streaming media player deals that are coming up next week.
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