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Public Test Set for SyncTV

Jan 13, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Pioneer’s download-to-own online video service SyncTV will move from a private beta to a broader public trial later this quarter.
The consumer electronics company rolled out the online download service late last year in partnership with Showtime and other content providers. SyncTV offers DVD-quality downloads of content, usually for either a subscription fee or by the episode.
In the first few months of the test, Pioneer has found that about 10% to 20% of participants are heavy users who will download 10 shows at once a few times a month, said John Gildred, president of SyncTV and senior VP at Pioneer, in an interview at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show.
“Because it’s a subscription and they can download a season at a time, people are uninhibited about downloading a lot of content at once,” he said.
Sync TV’s offering includes Showtime, kids content and Japanese animation. Showtime’s content is available on a per-episode basis.
Despite the strong early usage, SyncTV faces challenges. It is aiming for a market that’s already strewn with failed businesses. Wal-Mart recently shuttered its download-to-own store. AOL Video also closed its download-to-own shop and now focuses solely on ad-supported video.
Mr. Gildred said SyncTV’s competitive differentiator is an open system. He expects consumer electronics devices to come to market by year-end that support SyncTV. “It’s an open-standards DRM supported by major companies so it’s not controlled by one. It lets us open to anyone.”

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