First, Simple.TV announced a partnership with SiliconDust -- maker of the HDHomeRun line of products -- to build and distribute a new Simple.TV box, set to ship in US before the end of the year.
The new box ditches the curvy, white look of the original Simple.TV, opting for a somewhat smaller footprint and more conventional, black set-top box design. The big hardware upgrade is dual-tuner support, which opens up a lot of convenient functionality, such as the ability to record two shows at once or watch one live show while another is recording.
Inside, the new Simple.TV hardware will be powered by Zenverge's ZN200 chipset and the TransAll transcoding engine. The new tuner also includes support for international broadcast standards, including DBV-T2, DVB-C, DVB-S2, and ISDB-T, with international distribution coming in early 2014.
A significant software update is also on the way, dubbed Version 2.0, which will be available for the new box and the existing Simple.TV hardware. Simple.TV expects the new software to increase the speed of development of new features, while also offering an overhauled experience on iOS, Android, Roku, and HTML5 browsers.
While the new developments sound good, the over-the-air landscape has shifted significantly since Simple.TV broke into the scene at CES 2012. The company's biggest challenger now is Aereo, which offers similar recording and live playback of over-the-air TV signals, but without the need for a dedicated source box or antenna. And while Aereo is currently only available in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City and Miami, the company has been aggressively rolling out to new cities. (Disclaimer: CBS, the parent company of CNET, is currently involved in litigation against Aereo.)
Still, Simple.TV's hardware-based approach has its advantages, especially for those who don't live in Aereo-supported regions or who lack the reliable broadband connection needed to stream a lot of TV. I'm looking forward to checking out the new hardware and software later this year, especially to see if the company has improved on the reliability issues that dogged the first-gen model.