MobiTV’s WiFi streaming stick, set to debut commercially in the first half of 2015, will share more than one similarity with the Google Chromecast.
In addition to connecting to TVs via HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) ports, the MobiTV Connect won’t rely on a separate remote control and a TV-based interface, but instead employ tablets and smartphones to handle such functions as navigation and search.
“Our customers are mobile-first, so we’re mobile-first,” Rick Herman, MobiTV’s chief strategy officer, said. That approach, he added, will give the Connect the advantage of not requiring developers to port their apps to yet another platform. If the app works on iOS or Android, for example, it will likely work on the company’s new dongle.
MobiTV still hasn’t announced launch partners for the Connect, but Verizon Communications, Sprint, and AT&T are among its big existing U.S. customers.
It also hasn’t announced which specific content it will support, though it will feature a mix of live TV, video-on-demand and games, including some exclusive fare. And it won’t be a straight-up cord-cutting device, but instead serve as a highly personalized complement to traditional pay-TV services, Herman said.
MobiTV’s launch partners are still mulling several distribution models. While direct retail sales is a strong suit of all mobile carriers, some are talking about bundling the Connect with a high-end data plan or with content packs.