FlixChip Corp., a Chico, Calif.-based startup company, is betting that a pre-loaded USB movie drive can replace DVDs and Blu-rays and compete with streaming media to deliver movies and other entertainment content to computers, televisions, tablets and other hand-held devices.
While the company is still in the midst of a fund-raising campaign, it has announced its first content deal with FilmChest Media Group and says it is in discussions with film studios, indie distributions and video game producers with the aim of starting to sell its products both online and in bricks-and-mortar stores by the end of the year.
FlixChip calls its new product, the muvichip. It’s a USB drive, a solid-state device preloaded with a movie or other content, that comes in a credit-card-sized package and can be plugged into a computer’s USB port.
To accommodate tablets like the iPad that don’t have USB ports, FlixChip also has developed muvifi, a small-portable player that accepts the muvichip and streams its content to any wifi-enabled smartphone, tablet or TV. As many as five devices can stream a movie from muvifi at the same time.
According to FlixChip, muvichip will use the UltraViolet movie distribution and digital rights management protocols. The company also said muvichip is compatible with iOS, Windows, OS X, and Android, and support for other platforms will be available in early 2013.
Muvichip pricing will be compatable with Blu-ray, the company said, while the muvifi players will retail for about $35 each.
FlixChip founder and CEO John Strisower said, “The time is definitely now for the launch of filmed entertainment on the USB platform. The key thing is that the customer already owns the hardware they need for muvichip playback and muvifi local streaming, and they already know how to use it. Along with hard media, VOD and other digital delivery systems, muvichip promises to be the next major content delivery platform.”
In addition to Strisower, the FlixChip management teams consists of co-founder and COO Greg Helland; CFO Pat Bennett; Aidan Foley, vp, business development; and Han Cho, vp, manufacturing and design.
As part of its fund-raising efforts, FlixChip has turned to indiegogo.com, an online crowdfunding platform. The company has set a $100,000 goal. As of Oct. 5, it has attracted pledges amounting to $15,000.