updated 08:20 pm EDT, Mon September 14, 2009
Service allows remote gaming on home consoles
The fledgling startup Spawn Labs has launched a new device that allows users to play their gaming console from remote locations. The service works in a similar way to Slingbox, but with two-way communication for playing games in real-time. The remote capabilities also expand options for multi-player games, enabling friends to compete on the same device but from miles away.
The system centers around the company's HD-720 device that connects between a router and one or two gaming consoles. Users can attach an Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, or a Gamecube. Gamers can even play in their own home when all of the TVs are occupied, while most LANs are capable of streaming 720p video at 30 frames per second. Supported audio signals include PCM and AAC-LC, with quality settings ranging from 64Kb/s to 256Kb/s. End-to-end latency is claimed to fall around 100ms on a home LAN or between 125ms and 150ms over the Internet.
When accessing the console from a remote location over a broadband connection, the service automatically optimizes video resolution for the available bandwidth. Many users can expect SD resolutions to offer the smoothest playback on an Internet connection. The system also allows additional viewers to watch the game without interacting.
Remote players use the Spawn Player software installed on a computer to access the games. The HD-720 ships with one gamepad adapter that allows a single user to play remotely. If two, three, or more players are accessing the system remotely, customers can purchase additional gamepad adapters. On the computer side, PS3 or Xbox 360 controllers are recognized by the software. The company is also working on a custom gamepad feature that is still in beta.
Users can also turn some consoles on or off remotely, as the device integrates an infrared transmitter for the Xbox 360. An optional Bluetooth adapter enables the power control for a PS3, although the function is not supported for the PS2 or original Xbox.
The HD-720 can now be purchased for $200, while the additional gamepad adapters cost $30. The Spawn Player software is available as a free download for Windows systems, while Mac support currently requires a virtual machine. [via TechCrunch]