PS3-quality lag-free gaming via your set-top box

Playcast aims to provide PS3-quality gaming via your set-top box
Playcast aims to provide PS3-quality gaming via your set-top box

Israeli gaming-on-demand specialists Playcast Media System has announced its first large-scale trial of a service offering gamers console-quality games via their TV's set-top-box.

Playcast is aiming to bring PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 quality games, on demand, to ordinary Cable or Telco set top boxes via standard cable telephone lines. Their proprietary tech uses "ultra high-speed processing to handle off-the-shelf games and distribute the game's audio visual output as digital video."

The first large-scale trial of this new technology – which many are claiming could well mark the end of the traditional games console over the next few years – is being launched in association with Israeli cable network, Hot.

On-demand gaming vision

Playcast claims that its service "allows TV viewers to play high-end video games, on demand, on their existing set-top-box with no lags or latency, with Playcast CEO Guy De Beer, CEO of Playcast adding that the pilot is proof that his "vision of TV games on demand is about to come true, enabling new growth opportunities for game publishers and TV operators at minimum investment, as well as an exciting and affordable new gaming experience for hundreds of millions of cable and IPTV viewers around the world."

TechRadar was treated to a demo of the service earlier this year, although it remains to be seen if the quality of the games and the lag/latency issues (or claimed lack of) can appeal to a mass market of casual gamers happy to pay to play games via their cable TV provider.

"During the pilot phase the system will be tested at full capacity on a live cable network, and feedback will be gathered from users on both the portal user interface and the incredible gaming experience itself," Playcast's press release informs us. "This pilot represents the conclusion of four years of development and positions Playcast as the only live and deployed service of its kind currently in the world."

Should the tech work and the content be appealing enough, it is clear to see where Playcast is aiming to go with the service, which has the potential to bring together "next-generation IP owners" with "hundreds of millions of connected households, with the added benefit of established billing customer care and support systems already in place, courtesy of the cable operators themselves."

Following what it hopes to be a successful trial in its home country of Israel, Playcast is looking to reach "major markets in the US, Europe and Asia during 2009 and 2010."

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Adam Hartley