RCA Akimbo Player streams TV shows, Movielink movies from Internet to TV

Akimbo has announced that pre-orders are being taken for the new co-branded RCA Akimbo Player. The RCA Akimbo Player marries the Internet with television. Using it, consumers can download videos (video Format: Microsoft Windows Media) and — for the first time on Akimbo, major motion pictures from Movielink — through a broadband Internet connection to watch later on TV. The RCA Akimbo Player can store over 100 hours of programming (80GB hard drive). It’s now available for pre-order (US$179.99) with a free two-month trial offer for the Akimbo Service. As of mid-October, when the player debuts at retail, its price will be $199.99 and the service will be $9.99 per month.

The RCA Akimbo Player does not record your cable or satellite programs. Users cannot burn programs onto a CD, DVD or other storage device. Programs cannot be transferred between multiple RCA Akimbo Players, a separate account for each player is required. Some programs do not have an expiration date and may be retained as long as you are a member of the Akimbo Service. Some programs have a limited viewing period, typically 30 days, and will automatically be removed from your library upon expiration. Akimbo requires broadband Internet service due to the size of video files. Each file must be downloaded completely before viewing to ensure quality playback.

The Akimbo Service provides access over 13,000 titles from Akimbo, including programming from BBC, Food Network, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, National Geographic and more, as well as specialty videos. Using the RCA Akimbo Player, Akimbo subscribers can also download recently released and classic films from Movielink. Akimbo’s Queue and View feature allows subscribers to create a personalized on-demand library, with instant access to the programs chosen and stored on the player, so that there’s always something great to watch.

“Now anyone can have an unrivaled video entertainment experience using the RCA Akimbo Player to draw great movies and TV shows from the Internet to their televisions,” said Joshua Goldman, CEO of Akimbo, in the press release. “The unsurpassed collections of Movielink and Akimbo provide a tremendous variety of high quality programming that can be watched at your convenience. To put it simply, this is a completely new way to be entertained in the comfort of the living room.”

The new RCA Akimbo Player features multi-speed fast forward and rewind as well as “a responsive and fluid user interface,” according to Akimbo. The included remote control allows for searching and browsing the Akimbo Guide and for setting up parental controls and other viewing options. Component, S-Video and composite video connections, plus stereo and audio and both optical and coaxial digital audio connections are provided. USB 2.0 ports have been added to the Player to support the 802.11g wireless adapter (US$$49.99) available on the Akimbo site and to offer future expansion possibilities.

Using My Akimbo, the web portal for the Akimbo Service, subscribers can find personalized program recommendations, user reviews and lists of the most popular programs from any Internet-connected computer, making it possible to download shows from the office or while traveling, to watch at home.

The Akimbo collection currently offers over 13,000 on-demand video and movies from 200 providers in seven languages and 100 different categories, with more programs added weekly. Subscribers can manage their account online and sign up for automatic RSS feeds alerting them to the latest content on the Akimbo Service. Akimbo After Dark offers short and full-length “adult entertainment.”

More info here.


This is basically a box that you connect to your TV and the Internet – either wired or wirelessly via $49.99 adapter – that allows you to download Akimbo content. It’s an interesting concept, but the content is far too limited (mainly old and obscure), the requirement for multiple accounts for each player, the need to completely download before viewing, and other limitations make the device and service a non-starter in our opinion.

22 Comments

  1. I still don’t think the average consumer wants devices like this. Since so many people STILL have issues connecting a plain DVD player to their TVs, I can’t imagine Joe Sixpack (who is already frustrated with Windows) try to connect this to the computer AND the TV. I just don’t see it happening.

    I am too curious to see how Apple’s iTV project will work. If it’s as simple as they make it out to be, then it’s a fair chance that it will be successful. Only time will tell.

  2. How many VCRs across the US have blinking 12:00 lights?

    The devil is in the details, but a service that has such restrictions as requiring multiple accounts for more than 1 player, and runs on Windows Media, makes me suspicious that it’ll appeal to the common, non technical crowd. Not having used the device I already wonder how easy it will be to use.

    I’m not against the idea per se, but I don’t see this gaining a whole lot of footing without the kind of marketing I expect Apple will put behind it’s forthcoming product. We’ll have to see how Apple handles this space when they release iTV and whatever related hardware and services along with it.

    I like the idea of having control over what I watch on TV. However I also like the ability to do this simply without a lot of buttons and steps and complexity.

  3. That sounds like shit. Honestly, a $10 a month subscription and a $200 box, and we wouldn’t even be able to KEEP the movies we download? No thanks, I’d rather download VCR quality movies/TV shows from the iTS that I get to keep. If I want subscription movies, I’ll get them through Netflix.

  4. The more these solutions show up and fail, the better it will position Apple’s iTV solution.

    This is exactly how it happened with iTunes/iPod with everyone running in different directions, bringing lame solutions to the market.

    Nothing has changed, and this will be Apple’s great advantage.

  5. If it forces Apple to reduce the cost of the iTV to $199 (from $299) when introduced this would be a good thing – although my guess is that Apple would have wanted to ‘surprise’ us with a price drop anyway.

    Also, I doubt the $10 per month would be for ‘all you can eat’, but the most limited of plans. Plus there is no mention of any HD capabilities, content or output.

    It seems unclear if a Windows PC is necessary somewhere to stream the content (wired or wireless) or does it connect directly to the internet (wired or wireless). My guess is that it needs a PC since there is no mention of an ethernet port (necessary for wired access), plus there is no mention of an internal hard drive or running the web portal on the player itself.

    BTW I don’t think you need multiple accounts per box, just one per box.

    This player seems to be competing more with cable services than the iTunes/iTV service. I’m just not sure what this offers over our existing cable box/video setup.

  6. Akimbo has been out for a while on Windeow Media Center Edition. I am browsing the Akimbo channel now on I am not impressed with the content of the user experience. I went to kids and got 36 episodes of Grump? Not exactly what I had in mind for content. I predict this is going nowhere, and no threat to Apple what so ever. This wouldn’t even be a headline if Apple hadn’t announced iTV.

  7. what is that “adult swi” he is about going to watch?

    is it included in the “specialty videos” mentioned here, or is it a national geographic title?

    The Akimbo Service provides access over 13,000 titles from Akimbo, including programming from BBC, Food Network, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, National Geographic and more, as well as specialty videos. Using the RCA Akimbo Player, Akimbo subscribers can also download recently released and classic films from Movielink. Akimbo’s Queue and View feature allows subscribers to create a personalized on-demand library, with instant access to the programs chosen and stored on the player, so that there’s always something great to watch.

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    MW: now i see the <u>point</u> of this device for joe six-pack…

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