VidaBox’s President Weighs in
on Streaming vs. Disc-based AV
Steven Cheung, President, VidaBox
Last month at CEDIA EXPO, VidaBox introduced
its LC-300 LiivController, which is the latest multiroom
audio control and automation system powered by the manufacturer’s
vAutomation control platform. The iPad-compatible product combines
automation controls, multi-room audio, and a Drop-n-Rip Blu-ray drive in
one unit, and provides four zones (expandable up to 20) of synchronized
multi-room audio without the need for additional matrix switchers. Running
on only 36 watts, the LC-300 plays music from its built-in internet radio
streams, stored music collections across the network, and auxiliary sources
such as iPod docks, complete with two-way feedback. Here’s more from
VidaBox president Steven Cheung on the simplicity of his new media
distribution product, the direction of the company, and his view of streaming
media versus disc-based AV content.
With so much focus on streaming media and cloud-based systems
these days, how has your business evolved when it comes to media
Streaming media is becoming more and more important to our clients, so
we’re definitely embracing the trend. In fact, our media centers and extenders
were among the first in the media server category to support Netflix right
out of the box, as early as Q1 2008. New products like our iPad-controlled
LiivController systems support streaming music from free and subscriptionbased
online services, as well as
stored collections. By next year, you
can also expect VidaBox hardware
specifically designed to access
even more content online through
services such as Hulu and Vudu in
the U.S., or Sky and other IPTV
services. However, as convenient as
streaming content is, the platforms
offer a limited selection and their
playback quality pales in comparison
to Blu-rays in 1080p and 7.1 HD
lossless audio. So we are
seeing two different markets
emerging, one that satisfies
ease-of-access and another
that emphasizes quality.
With that in mind, disc-based
media will still be relevant for
the immediate future.
VidaBox’s LC-300 LiivController and
menu of music organized by album art.
What is unique about the
There are three main factors
that really set LiivController
apart from the pack. The first
is its lower cost. LiivController combines a dedicated music server, matrix
switcher, plus built-in sources that eliminate traditional radio tuners, as well
as built-in software to replace a traditional automation and control system.
All of this is offered in one unit at a fraction of the cost of purchasing all
these elements separately. The second factor is fast installation. Since there’s
only one box, there’s also minimal wiring, simpler installation, and less
programming, which translates into time and cost savings. The third factor is
LiivController’s ease of use. With a single unified interface for music, movies,
and remote control of AV devices–using an iPad as the ultimate touchscreen–
users will love the simplicity and how easy it is to transition between accessing
their media and controlling their entertainment experience.
How are you incentivizing dealers to try out your system?
Accepted VidaBox dealers qualify for our demo unit program, which allows
them to purchase any standalone media center or server and extender kit at
a very generous discount off the MSRP. Having and using these solutions will
provide dealers with the experience they need to understand our products
properly, and provides them with the opportunity to showcase the products
to their clients.
Finally, what do you see as future trends in media distribution, and
what does VidaBox have in the works in this regard?
We see a continued convergence between disc-based and streaming content,
and the key to success for companies like ours is to provide a seamless,
integrated experience for the end user, allowing them to
access whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever
they want. The upcoming LiivController with its single,
unifying touch interface for control over any AV device
is the first step in fulfilling this vision, and we’re excited to
bring it to market for integrators and end users alike.