HDHomeRun Premium TV Not Long For This World?

Silicon Dust’s groundbreaking cord cutter service that co-mingles pay television with over-the-air broadcasts, via HDHomeRun hardware, appears to be on the ropes given a lawsuit filed against Omnivese, their upstream content provider:

“Plaintiffs (Disney, Sony, Fox, etc) have not granted licenses that permit Defendant DeMeo or Omniverse to stream the Copyrighted Works or sublicense streams to whatever counterparty they wish,” the lawsuit states.

HDHomeRun Premium TV launched last summer for $35/month, streaming a number of “cable” channels — such as Disney, ESPN, and CNN. The content is accessed via native Silicon Dust apps as well as third party implementations like Plex and Channels… including DVR capabilities. Which, along with time zone considerations, was the first sign that this may not have been entirely kosher, as I’ve never seen a service that didn’t at least attempt some sort of encryption and content lockdown to appease the studios and license holders.

From my private Twitter conversation with a peer at launch, pondering the source the unprotected content:

The first signs of trouble arose back in December when several channels were removed from HDHomeRun Premium and, given this new period of uncertainty, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Silicon Dust to find some way to back out of their contract Omniverse to better legally indemnify themselves and protect their brand from what’s about to go down. Even if Omniverse is contractually in the clear, they’re likely entering a long and pricey period of litigation – that they may not be able to afford and would certainly deter future partners/customers (and associated revenue).

Update: Silicon Dust has reached out with the following statement.

Yes we are aware of the situation from last week. SiliconDust is not a party of the lawsuit, but we can be indirectly affected by Omniverse not able to continue their service and so we are in the process of finding out a way to best mitigate any potential interruptions to our service and will let our customers know as soon as we know if there will be any change to the current services

(Thanks for the tip, PV!)

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Dave Zatz