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Simple.TV release pushed back, Kickstarter backers get update

Simple.TV's innovative over-the-air DVR has pushed its release date back again, now promising its Kickstarter backers that shipments should arrive by mid-October.

I've had some hands-on time with Simple.TV's hardware, but it won't be shipping until mid-October. Sarah Tew/CNET

Simple.TV started as a darling of CES 2012, but recently it's been faced with the more pedestrian realities of launching a new product, such as raising money via Kickstarter and meeting its release dates.

Simple.TV announced late yesterday that it would not be shipping Simple.TV boxes on September 27 as previously planned; the company now says Kickstarter backers should start receiving their units "between October 10th and 15th." While a one-month delay isn't uncommon for a product release, it's far from the first postponement for Simple.TV, which started with an initial release date of spring, then summer, then late September, and now mid-October.

The pattern of delays could give Simple.TV's Kickstarter backers vaporware anxiety, although they can take some relief from the fact that I've had some hands-on time testing the hardware running beta software. While it's clear that the software still needs fine-tuning (and in some cases significant fixes), it does work and the hardware exists as far more than the "project drawings" that Kickstarter has recently prohibited.

Simple.TV's unique over-the-air DVR remains one of the most promising cord-cutting solutions I've seen, but now the company needs to prove it can get products into the hands of its customers.

Simple.TV's full update to its Kickstarter backers is below.

Hi Friends of Simple.TV!

You probably saw the press articles this week... "Simple.TV is shipping on September 27". There's been a bit of confusion around this, so we wanted to clarify what that means for Kickstarters and for folks wanting to order our product.

On September 27 (tomorrow), we're planning on opening up our store to take pre-sale orders of Simple.TV. That means people will be able to order Simple.TV, pay for it, and receive it within 20 days.

Also tomorrow, our first articles will start shipping from our production line in Canada to our distribution facility. Initially, the volume will be small because it takes time for the production line to come fully up to speed. Once the "first articles" are approved, the production line will steadily start to come to life, with limited numbers of units being produced in small batches. These volume units will then start to make their way from Canada to our distribution facility in LA, where they will be shipped out to Kickstarters and pre-order customers. Because this is a delicate (and initially slow) process, we anticipate that Kickstarters will begin receiving units between October 10th and 15th, so a little later than we'd hoped.

The good news is that our dates are now looking pretty solid for shipping to end-users. They may fluctuate a little bit, but we'll try to keep updated as regularly as possible as we move forward.

Roku Submission!

This week, we submitted our Roku channel to the Roku QA team for their internal qualification. New Roku channels like ours must be qualified before they can be released into the Channel Store, and we're happy to see that their testing is going very well. Of course, there are a couple of little issues here and there, but things are looking quite good. We'll let you know when we pass the test!

Shipping Boxes

Our shipping boxes are finalized, and we've been press-checking them to make sure everything looks good. For the initial short run of boxes, we've approved the packing, and for subsequent runs we've asked for a couple of minor tweaks (adding guide areas to the box to encourage our pickers and packers to stick the labels in the correct area!).

Here's what they look like (we'll try to get some better angles for a future update):

Simple.TV box

That's it for now. No video today, but I hope to post a video all about setup next week.

James & the Simple.TV Team