Catching Up with SiliconDust: A Q&A with President and CEO Theodore D. Head
With the introduction of the SiliconDust HDHomeRun PRIME digital cable tuner (DCT), there are a good number of questions both from the Missing Remote staff and more importantly, our readers. Thus, we took the initiative to seek answers to those questions in an effort to clear up as much uncertainty as possible. Thanks to Theodore D. Head, President and CEO of SiliconDust, for taking the time to respond to our queries.
Q: For those unfamiliar with SiliconDust, tell us a bit about the company. When was it established & what have you made your mark on the market with?
A: Silicondust USA Inc was established in 2007 with the consumer launch of the HDHomeRun Dual Digital Network Tuner - taking the TV tuner out of your computer and putting on the home network via your router. Allowing the freedom to watch pause record Digital over the air or unencrypted cable anywhere in your home on any windows, mac or linux device - we are the innovators of the Network attached TV Tuner for computers.
Q: We saw an announcement from Elgato on Mac compatibility, how did that come about? How's the feedback been so far? Is this any indication that Mac support might come to your CableCARD tuners?
A: Because our HDHomeRun network attached - we are also cross OS compatible. We support client DVR software applications like Windows Media Center, Myth TV and EyeTV from Elgato. We have had a long standing relationship with Elgato who now bundles the HDHomeRun DUAL with EyeTV in their market channels - including now being sold in Apple Stores Nationwide - and more stores are being added regularly. Any HDHomeRun DUAL in the US or DVB markets will be compatible with MAC computers running a MAC DVR client software. The hurdle to the PRIME being compaitble beyond Windows7 - Media Center is the certification of the client software through Cable Labs certification to control protected content. There are processes in the works now that may allow other acces in the near future - watch for more on this in the coming months - including what Niveus is showing now in Keystone, CO.
Q: Your 6-tuner CableCARD device is due to be released on the 16th of June. What was the motivation behind essentially placing two of your PRIME triple-tuner cards in the unit instead of a single tuner device that would only require one CableCARD?
A: This was a 'go to market' decision to support our Home Theater enthusiests the quickest way possible - there is minor configuation and component changes to support this build - and allowed for this device to actually ship first before the 3-tuner device - the response to this device has been great - but the volume sales are clearly with the 3-tuner device - as we have seen in our pre-order program. We look forward to fullfilling all pre-orders of the 3-tuner models through our alliance with NewEgg by the end of August - more on actual shipping dates to follow in the coming days.
Q: We all know it will work with Windows 7 Media Center, but has there any progress on it natively working with SageTV or any other HTPC software?
A: In the works - more to follow on this later.
Q: How will the HDHR PRIME share tuners? Will the sharing work exactly the same as the original HDHR Dual and Single products?
A: Yes - network sharing is hardware based in the same vein as our existing products.
Q: How much beta testing has gone into the HDHR PRIME? We heard about a beta test some time ago, but we never learned of any details other than the original announcement seeking beta testers.
A: Beta testing was limited and short termed - it was very helpful.
Q: When might we see the dual-tuner USB version that SiliconDust are partnering with Hauppauge on?
A: Both products are releasing around the same time frame which is planned by the end of August.
Q: Looking at the current pre-orders, is there enough product in production to meet the initial pre-order demand upon release date?
A: Well supported - production is in full swing for the pre-orders and BEYOND.
Q: Are there any limitations on support for tuning adapters? For example, in systems using Cisco/SA tuning adapters that only support 2 channels, how does the HDHR Prime work with two tuning adapters since it only has a single USB port?
A: New rules require support of TAs to 4 tuners - customers should verify with their cable supplier - the benefit of the HDHomeRun PRIME is that the TA connects direclty to the PRIME and NOT to the computer - again keeping the connection away from the computer and keep it on the network.
Q: Can a TA be placed on a network-attached PC and still function in conjunction with the PRIME?
A: NO - the TA should be connected to the PRIME and tucked away.
Q: Can you elaborate on the zero-dB loss insertion splitter contained in the HDHR PRIME? What type of amplifier is used to achieve this?
A: We have designed in MA/Com splitters into our latest line of HDHomeRun products and we are very pleased with the performance and support.
Q: Is Clear-QAM operation supported without a CableCARD?
A: YES - on all OS platforms.
Q: Is there any plan to discontinue the HDHomeRun unit in the near future?
A: The new revision of the HDHomeRun DUAL is still selling very well in both the US and DVB markets - it allows access to ATSC / Over the air digitial as well as Clear QAM / Cable (and DVB-T / DVB-C in those markets). We have no plans or desire to discontinue this in any market as we are beginning to Expand in to many new markets around the world - already distributing in AU / NZ / UK / and Europe.
Q: Are there any products Silicon Dust is working on that we don't know about?
A: We are greatly expanding our TECH line of HDHomeRun products in both US and DVB markets beginning in August and September - TECH3-US and EU Dual tuners are available NOW - the 8-Tuner Rack Mount devices will be shipping this month (HDRACK) more will be On our web site in the coming WEEK. We will also be introducing the PRIME 3 and 6 tuners in a TECH version. TECH versions allow for Site Wide Muliticast capability as well as remote and head end monitoring - a whole new path in the commercial and enterprise side for Silicondust going into the 4th quarter and well into 2012.
Q: Ok, so what happened with the launch delay really? It was available for pre-order and everything seemed so solid, and then the launch came and went.
A: Purely a manufacturing delay due to RAM chips - not pretty - no smoke and mirrors - staying dark was a choice of lesser evils - we set dates as best we could based on info up front - and well - delays happened. We hate delays more than our customers - but it is the nature of mfg sometimes - especially with NEW products. This type of Network CableCARD device just didn't exist before - and some documentation had to be written specifically for it. We are working hard and fast to get this out - and in our customers hands this month. There will also be more info on something with an 'i' in front of it within a week - hold for more.
So, there you have it. Hopefully all of your questions have been answered. If not, feel free to post your queries and we'll see what we can do.