There’s a series of DirecTV commercials where a TV viewer is immersed in an action scene but easily pauses and begins the scene where he left off in a different room. While that idea is easy to grasp, it’s not fully realized because our homes have more screens than just TVs. The viewer can’t begin watching again, on say, his smartphone.
Shodogg, a startup focused on consuming and syncing video easily across platforms and devices, wants to change that. The company, which has been in stealth mode since early this year, has a patent-pending technology that lets you jump from TV screen to phone screen to laptop screen without missing a beat.
Shodogg first told the world a bit about its technology at VentureBeat’s DEMO event in New York City in October, and the company will officially debut its service and apps at the CES conference in Las Vegas in early January. Shodogg CEO and co-founder Herb Mitschele decided to share a few more details behind his promising-sounding startup before the CES launch to give us a better idea of what his technology can do.
The company’s grand vision is to change the way “people access, navigate, control and share online videos.” If you can start watching a movie on the iPhone 4S on your train ride home, then tap a button and move it to your big-screen Samsung TV when you arrive, the barriers to how you actually consume video almost evaporate. Apple, Google, Viacom, News Corp, NBC Universal or other media companies often charge to allow you to access content across new devices, but with Shodogg that won’t be case.
However, the company stressed that it does not want media companies to think of it as a disruptor of their content and sales strategies and wants them onboard as partners. While that notion might be a tough sell, Mitschele said Shodogg’s technology will actually help “preserve branded content” but just make it possible to watch it on a more convenient or better-looking screen. The media company still gets your dollars to buy or stream a movie, but Shodogg gives the viewer more options for how to consume it.
“The next step is to secure a lot of media deals,” Mitschele said. “We will display content partners we’re working with at CES.”
The company’s patent-pending technology is still young, and as such, it has limitations. Outside of working on almost every standard browser (IE10, Chrome, Firefox, Safari), it only works on connected TVs that have a browser and through Shodogg’s applications for iOS 5 and Android 2.1 and up. Those applications are not in Apple’s App Store or the Android Marketplace as of this writing, but Mitschele said the apps will be available in January.
For real use cases, Mitschele said YouTube was the service’s starting point because of its open API. You can watch a YouTube clip or movie through the Shodogg app on an iPhone, then open the same clip through Shodogg on your desktop browser and the clip will begin right where you left off. It is working on hooking up with other video services to make the experience as seamless as YouTube.
One powerful example Mitschele illustrated to better explain how Shodogg works was this: Mitschele set up Shodogg on his mother’s home computer. Now, he can be hundreds of miles away from her house and share videos from his phone to her computer without any hassle. “I call her up and say ‘Hey Mom, go sit in front of the computer and then send the video to her screen,” Mitschele said.
The Valhalla, New York-based company has thus far raised $1.6 million in funding from several “senior media executives.” It has a nice list of advisers on hand as well: Gregg Spiridellis, founder and CEO of JibJab; Linda Yaccarino, NBCU President of cable and digital ad sales; and Jerry Needel, COO of Buzzmetrics.
Check out the slick promo video of Shodogg below: