October 23, 2017

Library Ideas Launches Movie and TV “Hotspots”

Library Ideas, developer of the Freading ebook and Freegal music solutions for libraries, is launching the GoChip Beam, a new type of device for lending movies and television series. Each GoChip Beam device contains a small Wi-Fi router, rechargeable battery, and solid state storage preloaded with five feature length movies or an entire season of a television series, all enclosed in a 3.5″ x 1″ stick.

After downloading an app and connecting to the GoChip Wi-Fi signal, up to eight simultaneous users (within a 75 foot radius of the device) can stream any movie or episode stored on the GoChip to Apple and Android tablets and mobile devices, as well as Mac and Windows laptops and desktops, Brian Downing, CEO of Library Ideas, told LJ.

The launch collection, which will begin shipping this week to a few early adopters, includes 40 SKUs (20 devices preloaded with TV series and 20 with movies) featuring TV series such as Breaking Bad, Community, House of Cards, and The Spectacular Spider-Man. One example of a five-movie collection of dramas includes The Notebook, Of Gods and Men, In Darkness, The Invisible Woman, and Labyrinth of Lies. Other movie categories include action, comedy, family, kids, sf, horror, romance, and documentaries.

Going forward, Downing said, new SKUs will include some content simultaneous to its release on DVD and Blu-Ray, with five new SKUs introduced each month. Upcoming titles include T2: Trainspotting at the end of June, and in July, the sf thriller Life and the family-friendly Smurfs: The Lost Village.

Each preloaded device will cost $119 each—a one-time payment with no lending limits—and Downing said that Library Ideas will be offering discounts to libraries that purchase either the entire launch collection or place standing orders for newly released content. The devices will ship in customized yellow boxes the size of a standard DVD box, facilitating shelving and storage with a library’s existing media collection.

Although GoChips are new to the market and have not yet been tested in a lending environment, Downing noted that the devices have no moving parts and “should be very durable” as a result.

In a joint statement, Downing and John Strisower, CEO of GoChip, said, “Libraries have always been on the forefront of providing media solutions on a large scale, and we look forward to seeing the results of three years of hard work together. We are confident that the GoChip Beam will be a staple of library collections for years to come.”

The GoChips are not designed to connect to the Internet, and the stored content is locked and only accessible within range of the device’s Wi-Fi signal. As such, studios may be more inclined to view these devices as physical media, with licensing agreements similar to those for CDs and DVDs, instead of streaming devices, such as Rokus. Downing stated that he believes the hybrid physical/digital nature of the devices will appeal to many studios that have otherwise been reluctant to work with library streaming services.

Matt Enis About Matt Enis

Matt Enis (menis@mediasourceinc.com; @matthewenis on Twitter) is Senior Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

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