Back in August, top executives from Disney and Electronic Arts left to start Qvivo, a media center app that manages your videos and music all in one place, streams files over the cloud on any number devices (TVs, smartphones, tablets), and integrates with all your social media. After months of development, Qvivo has blossomed into a gorgeous app with a sleek interface, which will launch in beta after the holidays. It serves as a stark reminder that Google TV is far from the only major player in this space.
When installing the app on your computer, Qvivo will scan all your files for media content--photos, MP3s, TV shows, movies--and build a library of your collection. The files are displayed in Cover Flow-like fashion, and can be streamed from anywhere. Though still in development, Qvivo will enable users to stream their media on HDTVs, iPads, and other mobile devices from Androids to iPhones.
"We built an experience that mimics the polished experience of a console," says co-founder Liam McCallum, a former director at Electronic Arts. "Coming from the video game industry, the user-interface just has to be right and fluid. It has to work like a console--I took some engineers from EA when I left and from Rockstar Games."
Most unique to Qvivo's offering is its social media enhancements. The service integrates with Facebook and other sites to not only provide access on one's TV, but also to share your viewing experiences with the world seamlessly.
Using the app's check-in feature, users can publish to Facebook what they're watching or see what their friends listening to.
Unlike Google TV or Boxee, Qvivo is only an app, and will not come pre-installed on televisions or set-top boxes. To get Qvivo, you'll need an Internet-enabled TV and an HDMI connection, or you'll have to hook up a Mac Mini or similar device. The company decided not to do hardware early on, and with good reason. "One reason why I started this project was my frustration with Windows Media Center and all the other boxes--I've got a stack of boxes and media players in my living room that I never use," says McCallum.