The streaming set top box battle is most certainly heating up.  Yesterday, Netflix announced that the Roku box is now compatible with Amazon’s Video on Demand service.  Today, Zillion TV unveiled its set top box that provides streaming, on demand content in exchange for watching ads.  But not just any ads.  In fact, you select the ads you want to see.  Don’t want ads?  Then just drop some cash.  I’ll go with ads, though.

Zillion TV has agreements in place with not only content creators (Disney, Universal, etc), but with ISPs, such as Comcast and Timewarner.  Smart, because one of the inherent challenges that Netflix and those of the streaming type are sure to face is opposition from the ISPs who will cap and ultimately control how much bandwidth a subscriber receives, hence the whole Net Neutrality battle that has been going down.

So what is exactly Zillion TV?  They’re essentially a VOD TV service.  That means instead of tuning into 30 Rock (one of my favorite shows and big props to Lemon) you ‘demand it’.  Simple, clean and easy.  As mentioned, you’ll have to watch a preroll ad, or something to that affect, in exchange for the content.  Sure, advertisers won’t get to hit you with ads every 7 minutes, but since you’ll select the ads types that you want to see they’ll be much more targeted and even better, at least for the ad companies, guaranteed to play – they’ll also be able to glean your watching habits into their ad targeting.  Of note, the ISPs are now facilitating ‘ad skipping’ thanks to the millions of DVR boxes that have flooded the market so it only seems right politically savvy to offer a solution to the ‘fast forward’ button.

As for the technology behind the Zillion TV, you’re guess is good as mine.  But, one very notable accessory included with the device is a motion sensing remote courtesy of Hillcrest Labs.

Currently, the Zillion TV VOD service (I think I’m coining it ‘TOD’ from here on out) boasts over 15,000 titles, which includes both movies and TV shows.

If you’d like to be notified of when the service is in your area just hit their site and sign up.  I’ve got mixed feelings about the whole thing since signing onto this type of service might negate Netflix streaming.  Then again, Netflix doesn’t offer live TV shows, so the Zillion TV service very well could be complimentary, assuming you exclude movies from the equation.

[ZillionTV via Newteevee]

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."