I-O Data Brings Sony's LocationFree Technology to the Mac

I-O Data announced Friday the release of a Mac software client for Sonyis LocationFree multimedia base station. LocationFree allows users to stream TV (including PVR, DVD, cable, satellite, or broadcast TV) from their home to a Windows computer on a local network or even to remote computers. I-O Data brings the technology to Mac users via a Sony-licensed Mac client with the techy sounding name of "TLF-MAC/E software package."

LocationFree was originally designed for Windows computers and Sonyis PlayStation Portable handheld gaming platform. It consists of a base station that sits between your TV and your input devices (the aforementioned list of products, including TiVo) with an Internet connection servicing as the gateway to your computer. Content running through LocationFree can then be picked up on your computer, be it locally or remote (say in a hotel room in Kansas when youire travelling on business).

In addition, I-O Data spokespersons told The Mac Observer that viewing TV content over the Internet includes the ability to control set top boxes (such as TiVo or other PVRs) from your Mac in a remote locations. TMO is testing a unit to confirm the limitations and capabilities of the Mac software in review in the near future.

"For Mac users who already own a Sony LocationFree base station, this software will allow the two devices to interoperate for less than forty dollars," said Jack Akita, Director of Business Development for I-O Data Device USA in a statement. "Alternatively, users can purchase the LocationFree Player Pak for Macintosh, which includes the software and LocationFree base station."

I-O Data offers a number of Macintosh products in Japan, but the release of the TLF-MAC/E software package for LocationFree marks the electronics firmis first foray into the U.S. Macintosh market. The company licensed the rights to develop the Mac client from Sony through an I-O Data subsidiary in Japan called Taxan.

The standalone version of the software is being offered at US$39.95, and the software bundled with a Sony LocationFree base station is priced at $309. The standalone base station retails for $279.

I-O Data expects the product to ship in "late 2006," and it will be available in retail stores and I-O Datais Web site.