By Harry McCracken | Monday, September 14, 2009 at 12:35 pm
The most potentially interesting thing I’ve seen so far at the TechCrunch50 conference is Spawn Labs’ Spawn HD720 box. It’s also one of the easier things to explain: Just as a SlingBox lets you redirect your TV signal to another PC on your home network or anywhere on the Internet, Spawn lets you broadcast console games–it supports PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360, and GameCube, but not Wii–to distant computers. You can use it to play a game in another room when your TV is otherwise occupied, or to play a game remotely when you’re traveling–and you can even play against someone who’s in the living room using the console directly, or who’s in a third location.
It all works via a $199.95 box (which goes on sale today) and adapters you plug into your computer to let you connect gamepads, and Spawn says it’ll work with any game for the consoles it supports. It worked well in the demo–which isn’t a given, since several TechCrunch50 debutantes haven’t–and if it does what it’s supposed to, it’s going to be cool. Spawn says that games look good and there’s virtually no latency on home networks and only a tiny bit over the Internet, but even the impressively-engineered SlingBox sometimes has trouble dealing with chokey real-world Internet connections. I’ll believe it when I play it.
Even if it performs as advertised, it is, of course, another box to buy and install. Wouldn’t it be nifty if this feature was built into consoles–or if Spawn and Sling teamed up to sell one box that did both games and TV?