Published February 19, 2013
Volume 21, Number 2

Silicondust Provides HD TV throughout the Entire Run of the Home   

Theodore Head of Silicondust says the company’s products display
“TV, anywhere in your home, on any screen.” (photo credit:  Creatability LLC)

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

It is no exaggeration to say that Silicondust USA has hit it out of the park with its HDHomeRun product family. It is also somewhat of a mixed metaphor. Rather than the sports reference, the product is named for the major advance it brings to television viewing—the ability to stream live TV “throughout the entire run of the home,” according to company President and CEO Theodore Head.

HDHomeRun started out as a TV tuner for computers, Head explains.“It enables viewers to watch and record digital and high-definition television from any computer within their home network, or LAN. Our tag line is 'TV anywhere in your home on any screen.' ”

That concept has powered the company's growth and subsequent extensions of the product line.

When the first-generation HDHomeRun was originally introduced in 2007, it had a dual-tuner format, connected to the home router or switch, allowing two independent people to receive and control different HD content on their computers. That was a major advantage over preceding computer TV, which was dependent on a USB stick or an internal PSI card, limiting viewers to one location.

Then, cable providers across the country began encrypting signals to better control their accounts and services. This spurred on the creation of the next product, HDHomerun Prime, a three-tuner device that delivers fully encrypted premium content over the network. That means that each user can be watching a different premium cable channel from a separate, individually controlled device. “Mom on her laptop in the backyard, kids on an Xbox in the family room, dad on the computer upstairs” are examples Head suggests.

In December Silicondust moved into “the DLNA world.” The Digital Living Network Alliance is the industry group setting standards for interoperability “among personal computers (PC), consumer electronics (CE), mobile devices and service providers in and beyond the home.” The goal is to enable “a seamless environment for sharing and growing new digital media and content services.”

Silicondust's year-end announcement was the debut of the first DLNA-certified live TV Digital Media Server (DMS), phase one of HDHomeRun Project:Connect. Project Connect targets live TV access on every screen in the home–whether on a smart TV, network connected media device, game console, smart phone, or tablet, including iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile.

Introduced at last month's Consumer Electronics Show, the next-generation product incorporates transcoding, an innovation that reduces the bit rate to a manageable level when streaming high-definition TV to smaller devices like tablets and smart phones. Transcoding lowers the bandwith demand on the home network and enables users to take full advantage of their high-resolution displays, Head points out.

The company is also applying that technology to its enterprise product line, which serves venues with a vast number of users, such as hotel chains, major sports arenas, and educational institutions, from elementary schools to colleges and universities. For example, the upcoming installation at Stanford will allow games played in the stadium to be streamed live across the entire university campus over the school’s own IP network—instead of over the Internet, where such heavy loads would choke the network and significantly slow down performance.

With strong demand for HDHomeRun products around the globe, Silicondust has doubled its employee headcount since arriving in Hacienda less than two years ago. It also almost doubled its physical space by moving into a neighboring 6,500-square foot suite at 5627 Stoneridge Drive.

To find out more, go to www.hdhomerun.com

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