updated 10:45 am EST, Mon November 19, 2007
Electronics maker Pioneer today took the wraps from SyncTV, a new video service it hopes will offer the best of both downloads and subscriptions without limiting users to a particular platform. Rather than charge per episode or for a flat universal subscription, SyncTV charges between $2 and $4 per month for channels such as an anime-themed station or individual TV shows like Dexter; users can then download as many episodes or titles as they like from that channel, Pioneer notes. Content will also be available in HD when possible and even includes Dolby 5.1 surround support for home theaters.
In contrast to most subscription services, SyncTV will not be locked to Windows, the company emphasizes. An independent copy protection scheme known as Marlin is open-standard and allows Macs and Linux PCs to play the same videos with all features enabled with the right hardware and software. Portable devices and other electronics are not yet supported but should be ready in 2008 once device producers integrate Marlin into their products.
SyncTV is currently in private testing but is accepting submissions for potential customers who would like to try the beta; a publicly available service should be available in early form by January.