Neulion HD Set-Top Box Brings Internet Video To HDTV Sets

By Ken Kerschbaumer

NeuLion, a leading provider of live and on-demand programming over the Internet, is expanding its HD iPTV Service with a new set-top box that can deliver 720p and 1080i signals via the Internet directly to a TV set.

“Now our customers can choose which consumer device they want to watch their HD service on,” says Chris Wagner, Neulion executive vice president. “Either the big screen via a set-top box that hooks up like a DVD player or camcorder or via a browser-delivered service on a computer.”

NeuLion’s existing iPTV HD PC browser service provides HD quality programming of live channels, sports, entertainment events and video on demand in up to a 1080i format to its Network Partners across the globe.

In the professional sports market, the National Football League partnered with NeuLion to deliver two unique online services in high definition to the consumer’s PC. This season, the NFL launched NFL Game Pass HD, an international, subscription-based service providing live and on-demand streaming of NFL games and NFL Network programming in high definition. Building on this success, NFL Game Rewind, a subscription service available to the U.S. market, was launched delivering archived full length NFL games online giving fans the ability to “relive NFL Sunday” on the computer.

The launch of the HD TV Box provides adaptive streaming in high definition without buffering.

NeuLion is the first company to offer HD streaming services of Live TV Channels, Live Events and Video on Demand over the Internet directly to the television. NeuLion is also the only company that lets the consumer choose viewing of content on either the TV, PC or both – all in high definition. NeuLion lets the consumer pick the device, place, time and programming.

Wagner says the HD box can handle streams up to 2.5 Mbps and SD signals in less thn 1 Mbps of bandwidth. “For all of our networks the partner controls the content and marketing,” says Wagner “Content is also secured through various DRM technologies and is only available on a conditional basis.”

Wagner believes the HD box will ease a challenge for consumers: how to deliver HD signals from the Internet to the TV. “How many people hook their computer up to their TV set? Even if they do it’s not the same quality experience as watching TV. Our service has a user interface, channel guide, picture-in-picture and can even overlay the channel guide on video,” he explains.

It also has a seven-day stored program guide so that viewers can go back and time and watch shows that they might not have recorded via the DVR function.

As an end-to-end service, NeuLion provides everything from content acquisition to customer care including: console personalization, complete billing services for pay-per-view, registration, and subscriptions as well as support for advertising and sponsorship placement. The service supports Adobe Player 10, Silverlight 2 and Move Networks Streaming Player for adaptive streaming in order to maximize end user’s bandwidth to eliminate buffering.

NeuLion currently offers its iPTV HD PC browser service to its Network Partners. The NeuLion iPTV HD TV Box will begin shipping in March 2009.

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