While incumbent pay-TV operators are succumbing to market pressure to reduce the size, complexity and scale of their leased set tops, startup Layer3 TV said that BMW Group subsidiary Designworks was enlisted to architect the service’s new line of set tops.
In fact, the company that bills itself as “concierge cable” even cuts its promo video for the new gateway like a luxury car commercial, complete with fog effects. Layer3 said the new device comes in a variety of colors, is 4K-capable and can record up to eight shows at once. It includes full-color LCD panel display, as well as an integrated DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem than can deliver speeds up to 600 Mbps downstream.
“Designworks and the BMW Group have a long history of designing high end and intuitive products that customers love using every day,” said Layer3 TV CMO Eric Kuhn. “After conducting an exhaustive global search for a design firm, we were attracted to the firm’s commitment to combine elegant design with tangible improvements to how media is experienced.”
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While Layer3’s approach might seem to some like moving luxury furniture into a burning building, the plush gateway is very much in keeping with the Denver-based startup’s counterintuitive approach to the pay-TV market.
Leading operators such as Comcast are now virtualizing services like DVRs and deploying gateways that are more diminutive. And while it remains to be seen if they’ll keep doing it without FCC pressure, these same top operators are designing apps that replicate the set-top experience on standard streaming devices, such as Roku.
Again, Layer3 zigs as the market zags.
“The user experience is at the heart of what we design for at Designworks, whether we are working on aviation interiors, user interaction concepts or solutions for the smart home” said André de Salis, creative director and project lead for Layer3 TV at Designworks, also in a statement. “To re-imagine the cable television experience for the first time in over a decade together with Layer3 TV was a task we more than enjoyed," he continued. “The new Layer3 TV cable set-top box is an easy to use interface powered by a beautiful product that truly fits in people’s homes.”