Video services

Ceton Completes the Crossing

11:45 AM -- Ceton Corp. confirmed Engadet's report that its first batch of InfiniTV 4 CableCARD tuners for Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows Media Center PCs has reached the US and should soon be in customer hands. (See Ceton Pitches Cable Set-Top Alternative and Ceton Ready to Fire Live Bullets.)

However, not every customer who pre-ordered the product, which allows PCs to share most of the functions found in a digital cable set-top, will get one in this round.

The InifniTV 4, whose debut has been delayed due to parts shortages, is on its way to Ceton's pre-order retailers, which include Zones Inc., Cannon PC, and Fluid Digital.

"Units will ship out on a first ordered/first shipped basis and the first customers will be receiving their Ceton InfiniTV 4 starting next week (depending on the shipping method they chose)," Ceton chief marketing officer Ed Graczyk noted via email. "We’re manufacturing, testing and shipping as fast as we can but I can’t give you a date yet for when we think all pre-order units will be shipped and in people’s hands."

Ceton hasn't said how many pre-orders it has received for the product, which retails for $399 and can share content (including premium channels like HBO) on home networks akin to the way that a more traditonal multi-room DVR works. But a number of customers have been waiting anxiously, as Ceton had at one point expected to start shipments in the first quarter of 2010. (See Ceton Delays CableCARD PC-TV Tuner.)

Depending on how many units Ceton ends up moving, the InfinTV 4 could give a boost to a flagging retail market for one-way CableCARD-ready video devices.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

mikinho 12/5/2012 | 4:27:48 PM
re: Ceton Completes the Crossing

Based on my testing of the Ceton InfiniTV 4 (see Missing Remote Review: Ceton InfiniTV 4 Quad CableCARD Tuner - Part I) I'm certain Ceton will do very well in the market.

KevininChicago 12/5/2012 | 4:25:09 PM
re: Ceton Completes the Crossing

The window of opportunity for this product is from 2-3 years and they are already a year into that window due to the many, many, many delays. At this point they don't even have the card out in anywhere near sufficient quantities to supply more than a couple weeks of their pre-orders.

The whole dynamic of how content will be available to the end user is in a state of flux but my crystal ball says that network and cable tv distribution via cable tv companies like Comcast, RCN, Verizon will be changing.

In the past the only way to get a show produced was throught the studio system or one of the cable channels (HBO, Showtime, etc). In the future I see the model changing drastically and the middleman being cut out of the equation. Production and distribution companies have a stranglehold on what gets put out.

We've all seen it before...a great show, great ratings, heavy fan following being destroyed by a change of night, change of time, change of management at a production company,  production costs getting to high because of talent salaries because of the way shows are produced. Good examples would be SG1, Dead Like Me, etc.

I think it was Plato who said that the best way to learn was to have a student at one end of the log and the teacher at the other end. I see the future as being the creator/artist/writer at one end of the electronic log and the consumer/end-user at the other end.

The creator of the story can then write according to his vision, the actors and crew make the product and it ends at a logical ending place before the actors and crew salaries and expenses make the product to expensive to make.


So, Cetons product will be viable until the majority of people start getting their content from other sources besides their set top box. In my case with Comcast as my Internet and Cable provider and with thier ability to offer almost all of their TV and movie selections over the internet, the Set Top Box is no longer the tether that keeps me there, but the actual content I can now get on my laptop, my android phone and at home on my Home Theatre PC.




KevininChicago 12/5/2012 | 4:25:03 PM
re: Ceton Completes the Crossing

I not saying that they won't. They have a good product that has a finite lifespan and they will only always be a niche player.

It's not like Joe PC is going to even be able to install and configure the unit easily and most of the cable companies are clueless and would love to see this crash and burn. People want simple and easy and it's neither.

Considering they haven't even been able to ship 1000 units according to estimates in 8 months of "production" I even have less faith in their ability to get the product in sufficient quantities to get to the point where you will be able to see these "in stock" by the end of the year given the current state of their manufacturing process and their lack of communication.




Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:25:03 PM
re: Ceton Completes the Crossing

This will certainly breathe some new life into the retail CableCARD model, but agree that it's not really poised to be a barnburner. Ceton's not talking about shipment and sales figures, but, as your subject line summarizes, this product is tailored to a small (though vibrant and passionate) community. JB

KevininChicago 12/5/2012 | 4:22:48 PM
re: Ceton Completes the Crossing

I'm one of the hundreds if not thousands who "pre-ordered" one of these units before even one public unit shipped and to date I still don't have one in my hands and neither do many others who are in the same boat. There has been a good deal of angst, cancelled orders and downright anger over at the The Green Button web site at Cetons inability to ship the product as promised. They keep pleading that some part is not available and providing little or no communication and it just boggles the mind that they can't come up with one of two thousand units to fill the pre-orders. Ceton continues to horribly handle this situation and it's turned into a PR nightmare.

It also infuriates a good number of us that we keep seeing all the positive press about how great the product is when guestimates put less than a thousand cards out in the hands of customers at this point. Since there are only 3 distributors for the card at this point and Ceton has had unheard of accurate number of units that they need to make based on the pre-order and still managed to completely blow a golden opportunity.

Maybe someone that can actually talk to someone in management at Ceton and get them to fess up to the problems going on and when they are being solved. The only reason we are getting the little information that we are getting over at TGB, is because of its ownership by Microsoft and the fact that Ceton has a vested interest in keeping Microsoft happy consider the PR that MS has given them and the integrating into Media Center.

Some of us are even thinking about ordering up T-Shirts that say "We pre-ordered an InfiniTV tuner card from Ceton and all we got was this lousy t-shirt"...that tells you the level of frustration that we have for this not-ready for primetime company.



Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:22:45 PM
re: Ceton Completes the Crossing

Hi Kevin,

Sorry to hear about your troubles, and I did see some of the venting going on over at The Green Button. Sounds like they're still having trouble fulfilling all the pre-orders, based on parts shortages and other factors. We'll look into it. JB 

KevininChicago 12/5/2012 | 4:22:36 PM
re: Ceton Completes the Crossing

Like I said, there excuses about "parts shortages" just don't ring true. They aren't building the space shuttle. They've only produced less than a thousand cards if the estimates are right.

Interestingly enough the they filed a SEC document (gotta love Google) for more capital around April which is about the same time that the "parts shortages" came up...We've been waiting since they announced that they would be available in January, then March, then July, then August, now it's almost October and I'm still waiting along with a whole bunch of other people at Zones and others at Canon and other places.

It's been 3 years and even with the support of Microsoft and enormous publicity from everything it should be embarassing to Ceton and its corporate officers over this bungling of production and shipping. They don't even bother to keep us up to date with their newsletters anymore.

It's very sad that a company with such a promising product just can't be bother to live up to it's promises of delivery....



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