A startup company going by the name ZeeVee has announced a new type of media-streaming box that could really shake up the market. Plug a ZvBox into your PC, connect it to a coax connector, and you’ll be able to stream video, music, digital photos, and any Web content in high definition to any HDTV in the house that’s also connected to your coax network. The device sounds expensive, being priced at $500, but unlike the typical media streamer or media-center extender, you don’t need a client at each TV (you don’t need a router, either). What’s more, ZeeVee tells us you’ll be able to begin watching video on one TV, pause it, and then resume watching on any other HDTV in the house. ZeeVee has developed a custom RF remote control that can not only control media playback, but is also capable of controlling the PC’s mouse and desktop interface via a touchpad. The company also shows an optional trackball-equipped keyboard on their website, but it's not clear when this will be available.
The streaming trick is accomplished by encoding the PC's video output in MPEG-2 in real time (interestingly enough, the ZvBox has an analog VGA input) and then “localcasting” it over your home’s coax network to an otherwise unused channel on the tuner in your HDTV--and it works only with high-definition TV tuners. ZeeVee assures us that their signal can coexist with whatever cable or satellite TV signals also reside on that cable. If your TVs are standard definition (or don't have a built-in tuner), you’ll need to buy a stand-alone HDTV tuner for the system to work (those are selling for anywhere from $50 to $200).
The company has developed a 10-foot user interface that will put a user-friendly front-end on any content on your PC or on the Web, including Netflix and movie-subscription services such as Vongo. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to laying hands on one of these boxes, which will be available June 30. If you can’t wait for our verdict, ZeeVee is offering preorders at Amazon.com.