Hillcrest Goes Retail With PC-To-TV Remote

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Remote-control developer Hillcrest Labs has launched its first retail product -- the Loop, a $99 wireless device aimed at consumers who have connected their computers to a TV set.

Hillcrest, based in Rockville, Md., has previously focused on licensing its Freespace motion-sensing technology to other manufacturers, including Kodak and Logitech.

The Loop pointer, originally developed as a concept product to showcase Hillcrest's technology, provides on-screen cursor control and keyboards for entering search terms or other text.

The Loop is available for $99 via Amazon.com or Hillcrest's Web site, at www.hillcrestlabs.com/loop.

However, Hillcrest founder and CEO Dan Simpkins noted, "Although today we are introducing our first product directly to the public, at our core, we remain a software and IP [intellectual property] licensing company."

According to a recent report from the Consumer Electronics Association, more than 7 million U.S. households have connected a personal computer to their home television sets.

To use the Loop pointer, consumers must plug in a USB 2.0 transceiver included with the device into a compatible PC or other device. The pointer uses radio-frequency technology with a range of up to 30 feet, so users do not need to point directly at the computer or TV screen. The Loop has a diameter of 4.8 inches, about the size of a DVD, and weighs 4.9 ounces.

Hillcrest, founded in 2001, is funded by AllianceBernstein, Columbia Capital, Grotech Ventures and NEA.