Set-top box company Entone wants to be TiVo-killer

Entone, a company that sells a set-top box for Internet television that can distribute video to three different TVs at once, has raised $14.5 million in a second round of financing.

It wants to replace your TiVo.

The box is sold via 25 telecom operators that provide Internet TV services to the home. Right now, the consumer pays for the Entone service when ordering it through their broadband carrier. Typically, an end user pays for a year or two contract, with basic service for live TV programming running around $30 to $50 per month, and premium services for more — similar to other IPTV offerings you can get. In the future Entone will enable a less expensive option for only a portion of the programming, but it won’t be on demand.

A $700 TiVo box lets you do something similar, by adding a time-shifting capability to the programming you get from your broadband service. However, Entone plans to make its service much less expensive and more versatile.

The Entone box, called a “gateway” because it distributes to multiple sets, will integrate broadcast television with other features in the near future, the company said.

Aside from time-shifted viewing, it will feature place-shifted viewing (initially around the house, but eventually to a mobile device, for example) and personal media viewing — such as photo libraries.

Jim Jones, of Scale Venture Partners, said the company has now raised $26.5 million in total. All of that came after 2006, when Entone sold its video networking software technology to Harmonic for $45 million and began a focus on the Internet television service.

The round was led by Coral Capital Management and included existing investors Menlo Ventures and Scale. An image of the Entone Hydra IP Video Gateway is at top; for more, a data sheet is here.

<img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-95963" title="entone-image" src="http://venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/entone-image.jpg"

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