While there’s a decent number of Sezmi beta testers in the LA region, I’ve yet to actually see the hydrid television service in action until today (from the Bellagio). We’re still looking at a Q1 retail launch, beginning in LA, with other markets to follow in a phased 2010 rollout. Retail hardware consists of the 1TB DVR set-top box, a sophisticated networked dual tuner antenna array (think HDHomeRun + antenna), and remote will set you back $300. Their top tier of service, which includes not only the typical guide data you get from say a TiVo, but also a number of retransmitted OTA cable channels (in regions with service), run a modest $25/month. Certainly cheaper than the vast majority of cable and satellite services Sezmi hopes to replace. Sezmi also has some partner distribution deals in the pipeline, but aren’t quite ready to discuss them.
The two most compelling aspects of Sezmi are the personal profiles and related recommendations (think a more sophisticated TiVo KidZone, for all members of the family) plus the aggregation of live, recorded, and Internet content into a single UI. Sezmi has the luxury of starting from scratch, rather than layering services upon an existing UI (and why I believe TiVo needs to blow up their UI). And they’re most certainly on the right track in terms of what I expect from a next gen set-top experience. However, the interface could still use a little more polish (despite the awesomely large and pausable picture-in-guide) and I worry their various distribution approaches could ultimately confuse consumers. But, I have to say, that I like what they’re doing. If you’ve got one in your home, let us know how it’s working out in the comments.