Getting Internet video to play nice with the living room TV is a top priority these days, and many players are trying to get in on the action. From juggernauts like Google to scrappy newcomers like Boxee, companies are striving to break down the wall between web content and our shiny plasma or LCD. Enter SnapStick, which offers a whole new approach that could be the simplest video-to-TV platform yet.
SnapStick provides software that runs via a mobile app (currently available for iOS). Once Internet video content is found via the app’s built-in browser, users make a flicking gesture with their phone toward the television. The app tells a set-top box connected to your TV what video to load. Like magic, the content loads instantly on your big screen.
It doesn’t matter that the iPhone doesn’t support Flash. The box itself knows whether it’s an episode of 30 Rock on Hulu or Glee on Fox.com, so it only seems like video is streaming from your mobile device. To make the video play at full screen, you just press whatever shortcut is on your phone’s display.
Currently in beta testing, the version of SnapStick we saw used a custom-made set-top box powered by an Intel Atom CPU and Nvidia Ion graphics. However, SnapStick doesn’t want to get into the hardware business.
Why the Competition Should Care
SnapStick has announced plans to partner with network hardware company D-Link. D-Link, which is expected to implement SnapStick software into its products by Q2, also makes the Boxee Box. If SnapStick ever finds a home on Boxee devices, this combo could prove to be an impressive one-two punch.
Founded in 2010, SnapStick has generated a considerable amount of excitement given its short history. But this start-up will have to land more partners than D-Link if it’s going to gain widespread appeal. The more media boxes—and perhaps smart TVs—that support SnapStick, the greater its chance of adoption among users.