The advent of radio and television introduced the term “broadcasting,” meaning to send out a signal broadly to be received by many listeners or viewers. Now with the Web, a new term is gradually taking hold — “broadcatching.”
Broadcatching refers to a user’s ability to download all kinds of digital content streams for later viewing or listening.
A Mountain View, Calif.-based startup called Casgle LLC is looking to promote its software to make that term, and the activity it describes, a lot more prevalent than it is today.
Casgle’s Broadcatcher software functions like a personal digital video recorder for all kinds of Internet content, including audio, video or anything else that can be sent over the Web, according to the company.
This week, one of Casgle’s hardware partners, Quad Micro Works, announced it will include Broadcatcher in upcoming versions of its Square One Personal Server, a standalone network-attached storage (NAS) device targeting the home server market.
Today, there are hundreds of thousands of information streams available to users. But it isn’t easy to acquire or manage; there are hundreds of thousands of content sources.
“There’s a lot of information out on the Web for free, but it’s hard to get. Plus you have to download it,” Mark Schroeder, business development director for privately held Casgle, told internetnews.com. There are other shortcomings, too. For instance, some information, such as news reports and stock quotes, have a short shelf life.
Broadcatcher aims to change that and simplify the whole process. Underlying the product is the software (in firmware) installed on a user’s storage device, as well as a service provided by Casgle’s backend servers, which updates the download lists and validates the content.
The system provides a list of channels of Internet-only programming “which can be surfed as easily as TV channels,” the company said. It also lets users manage bandwidth and storage usage, as well as deletion policies.
“After a simple account setup, whatever Internet content the user would like to receive is automatically and autonomously downloaded to the place the user
wants the files to reside, whether it is a portable media player, network-attached storage or digital media adapter,” according to Casgle.
In addition to Quad Micro Works, Schroeder said other NAS OEMs will be bundling Casgle Broadcatcher. “Between now and the end of the year, there should be other products out there.”
However, an important question does not appear to be so much whether products like Broadcatcher will eventually catch on but whether the market is ready for them just yet.
“These types of products are pretty leading edge [and likely only appeal to] people who are tech savvy, which is probably only about 5 percent of the population,” Roger Kay, president of market intelligence research firm Endpoint Technologies, told internetnews.com.