PROFILE: Colin Tinto

Jan 14, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: Chief technology officer of Home Media Networks, a U.K.-based technology company that develops PC software for the digital entertainment sector. Mr. Tinto helped co-found the company in February 2000.
About ShowShifter, the company’s first product: “ShowShifter lets you turn a normal PC into a television, video recorder, DVD player and MP3 player. It’s designed so you can use it from a distance as well as close up. We’ve designed what we call FarView technology to make it more like a consumer application. We’re trying to get away from the usual way you would use a PC with a keyboard and mouse and being up close, so you can actually sit back, sit on your couch, for example, and interact with the whole of the application from there.”
The origin: “We could see what personal video recorders were trying to do. We could also see that PCs were getting faster and faster, and hard disks were getting bigger, so we thought that a lot of what a personal video recorder could do a PC could do as well. But a PC could do a lot more … integrating all your different media types into one simple interface.”
Recent announcements: “We’ve just signed a distribution deal with Mediaphor, a German distributor of entertainment software. They’ll be selling ShowShifter as a retail product in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We do have a large PC manufacturer evaluating the product at the moment. We are talking to some U.S. PC manufacturers as well.
“The ultimate idea for the product, rather than selling it online, is to sell it to PC companies, and they install it on their machines before they ship it. It means they can sell their machines in a different price bracket because they can sell it as a PC but also as a television, video recorder, DVD player and music player all combined into one unit.”
Challenges: “Certainly in the last six months, PC sales have been slowing down a bit. But that’s actually to our advantage because PC manufacturers are now looking for new ways to sell their PCs. They’re wanting to add lots of extra features to encourage people to buy PCs for their home. They’re looking at adding lots of entertainment features, which is where our software comes in.”