Connected Objects
Slice looks to stay a cut above other living room media players

The Premise. Internet streaming devices such as Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV offer convenient streaming of movies and music on demand to your living room. Some streaming devices can play back media on a hard drive, but they’re not optimized for large personal libraries of video files and other media.

The Product. Slice is a hard drive-based media player designed to be snappy and easy to use. It’s a minimally designed black box outfitted with an array of usual ports along with a customizable LED ring that changes color depending on its current action. This adds a unique aesthetic twist to an otherwise unassuming design. It also ships with a custom-made RF remote, giving you the flexibility to be anywhere in your home and still command Slice.

The Pitch. The team behind Slice, Five Ninjas, does a great job concisely explaining such a versatile product. The campaign features a general overview video and a video walkthrough of Slice’s interface. Easy-to-digest lists and diagrams explain the nuances of the product, and there’s a pretty robust FAQ section that actually answers many common questions. Stretch goals have included Wi-Fi, an app to control the LEDs, a bigger hard drive, a thinner design with an extra USB port, and color options.

The Perks. Slice comes in two flavors. A diskless version is expected to ship in November 2014 with a contribution of £129 . A fully loaded version requires a contribution of £169 and should ship in December.

The Potential. The market has voted in favor of less expensive media streamers that deliver movies from services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Indeed Five Ninjas’ Web site laments the loss of the original Apple TV, which stored movies on a hard drive. Western Digital has probably had the most success with its hard drive-focused living room media player since then — including one that had a built-in hard drive —  but that hasn’t seen an update for a while. One of the the product’s biggest draws besides its simplicity is its openness. Since it’s built atop a Raspberry Pi and uses the XMBC software, Slice is open and hackable, allowing more creative technical individuals to do pretty much whatever they’d like that’s within the device’s capabilities. Slice will have the most appeal to those who have large collections of movies that lack copy protection or who like a bit of a light show with their home video entertainment.

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