Not another set-top box: Sezmi unveils its 'TV 2.0' service, with sparse detail

Formerly known as Building B, the yet-to-launch Sezmi is the latest company to try to solve the problem of merging broadcast and broadband.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read

We're constantly hearing that seamless integration of television and broadband video is fast approaching, but nobody's gotten it right yet. That hasn't stopped new companies from jumping into the mix.

Enter Sezmi, the latest start-up hoping to capture the market: on Thursday, the venture-backed company unveiled a piece of hardware that it claims will be able to handle broadcast and cable TV, as well as streaming and downloaded Internet video content.

Currently in testing, Sezmi has already inked partnerships with a number of broadcasters, content companies, and broadband service providers. The ambitious company hopes to start putting its wireless boxes in U.S. residences in a number of major markets by the end of 2008.

Sezmi, formerly known as Building B, isn't naming those partners yet, so it's not clear exactly how many channels or how much Web content will be accessible on the box. But the company nevertheless is willing to call its offering "a complete TV 2.0 solution." In addition to content, a Sezmi box allows for up to five personalized accounts and lets members share their video playlists with friends.

It's able to bridge the gap between television and broadband, according to Friday's announcement, thanks to an in-house technology called FlexCast.

"To deliver the full range of content that consumers expect at an affordable cost, we had to create a network that overcame the limitations of broadband and better aligned with mass-market content consumption," co-founder and president Phil Wiser explained in a release. No pricing information has been provided yet.

"Sezmi focused on the television consumer and built an entirely new television offering from the ground up to meet the needs of viewers that want a premium experience at an affordable price," co-founder and CEO Buno Pati said in Friday's release. "We have rallied support across multiple industries, and are excited to work with our partners to offer a new and differentiated TV choice to consumers."

Hey, Sezmi: Feed us more detail, and maybe we'll be more enthusiastic.