Titan Platform, a 5-year-old Korea-based company, is entering the crowded U.S. streaming video market today with what it calls a “beyond-OTT” set-top device, which will also be available in China, Singapore and South Korea.
Essentially a souped-up version of streaming boxes and dongles offered by Roku, Apple, Google and Amazon, the Titan Core is designed to combine video viewing with smart-home controls (climate control, security, appliances, etc.), enhanced encryption and e-commerce. The Core 5, described as a “prosumer” version of the device, caters to production companies, ad agencies and other professional-level users. Accordingly, it sells for $599. A consumer version planned for later this year, the Core 6 Basic, has fewer bells and whistles but will retail for less than $200, the company says.
Announced over the summer, the Core goes on sale today at pop-up shops in San Francisco, Santa Monica and New York City, plus specialty retailers and the Home Shopping Network. The lower-priced Core 6 is aiming for big-box retailers like Best Buy, but no deals have been announced.
Content distribution partners at launch include Vubiquity, TV4 Entertainment and Frequency, which will give users access to a range of film, TV and short film titles. Vubiquity, which is led by former longtime Warner Bros. digital chief Darcy Antonellis, will make about 200 film titles per month available through Titan on a VOD basis, including first-window blockbuster titles.
“There is a big, global piece missing across Hollywood and the connected home,” CEO Adrian Sexton, a former digital exec at Lionsgate, Participant and Endemol Shine, told Deadline. “Titan’s whole premise is to unify. We are creating an operating system for the home.”
Sexton said one key element of Titan’s approach is that it will give content providers access to the potent Chinese market through a unique partnership with China Unicom, the state-owned No. 3 telecom company in China. The all-important Chinese market has proven problematic for Hollywood given strict government controls, with streaming services like iQiyi recently having censors yank titles. “Of course, some content will never make it,” Sexton acknowledged. “We want to set an access point that is much more reasonable for content owners.”
The joint venture with Unicom, Sexton said, will enable the company to compete against entrenched global tech giants like Amazon and Google, who also are moving increasingly into voice recognition and smart home wares.
While piracy has also been a nagging problem for Hollywood across Asia, Sexton said Titan Play, the transactional content platform available via free apps designed to work with the Titan Core devices, offers more sophisticated encryption technology than rival systems.
Titan Platform, which has offices in the U.S., Korea, Singapore and China, is working with Deloitte Corporate Finance to complete a new $100 million capital raise on top of the $32 million it has raised to date out of Asia.