ReQuest Hits Trifecta for Media Servers: YouTube, Hulu, Netflix
New service lets users 'Watch Instantly' their Netflix queue from any room.
ReQuest may be the first manufacturer in the custom channel to incorporate Netflix into its media servers, and the new application will be shown at CEDIA Expo 2009.
Sure you can find the streaming video service in numerous TVs, settop boxes, and Windows Media Center (see our digital media roundup), but our favorite integrator-friendly servers have been slow to adopt the service … until now.
ReQuest is incorporating Netflix into its high-end Intelligent Music and Movie Client (IMC), which connects to a ReQuest media server.
What started out as a nice way to access your own movies and music from a server has emerged to become a nice vehicle for streaming media – all through a single streamlined user interface.
First there was YouTube, then came Hulu (definitely a first in our industry) and now Netflix.
“It’s kind of the trifecta,” says CEO Peter Cholnoky.
Like Hulu and YouTube before it, the Netflix application “is tightly integrated, so it looks really nice and there’s a little more functionality than, say, the Xbox,” Cholnoky says.
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For example, ReQuest enables very quick fast forwarding and reverse.
ReQuest’s implementation of Netflix is similar to Roku’s in that users only have access to queues they set up via the computer. From the ICM, you cannot browse through Netflix’s entire library and watch movies on the fly – something you can do with the excellent Netflix plug-in for Windows Media Center.
Even so, ReQuest has made some great strides in streaming content for CE pros.
On the audio side, the company offers NetSync for iTunes, as well as the ability to stream music from Internet radio via ReQuest’s Finetune application.
At CEDIA 2009, ReQuest will show a new version of NetSync that is “designed for a more multi-user scenario in the house,” Cholnoky says. “So if you and the kids all have iTunes libraries, it makes it seamless to integrate into a central storage.”
How Do Users Like Hulu?
ReQuest still appears to be the only developer of integrator-friendly servers to offer whole-house Hulu, the free video-on-demand service.
How’s that going for them?
Cholnoky says the feedback has been positive but naturally folks aren’t using Hulu in large theater rooms with 100-inch screens. On smaller screens, however, “They love it,” he says.
Cholnoky tells of one client with 16 IMCs in the home. “Instead of using one large switcher, with one Cat 5 cable they can put an IMC with every TV for photos, music and movies,” he says.
The Netflix app will be available next week.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]
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