updated 03:20 pm EDT, Fri July 6, 2007
Microsoft recently chose to showcase a new technology dubbed Livestation, a service intended to challenge the Slingbox in streaming a user's TV to a remote computer. The platform, developed largely by the UK-based firm Skinkers, would effectively eliminate the need for both a separate media streaming hub as well as installing custom software. Changes made by a TV provider on its own end would let subscribers view and change channels online simply by connecting to a remote server, limiting the choice of what can be seen but saving the trouble of up-front costs and taking direct control of a home TV's input.
Users would in theory be free from any one platform, Microsoft adds. Using the company's Flash-like Silverlight plugin will allow any computer to display TV either in a stand-alone window or in a web browser, allowing Mac (and potentially Linux) systems to run the system with relatively little effort. Livestation is to date only able to support live footage but might be extended to allow on-demand viewing, Skinkers says.
Still in the very early stages, Livestation is not yet ready for public tests or for shipping but may eventually become a free or low-cost addition to existing cable, IPTV, and satellite services in the near future. [via TechCrunch]