After nearly ten years of hard work, an Alleghany County man's big idea has finally come to life. Thursday, Steven Turner officially launched his new social media site called SimulTV.
The idea came to him back in 2004 during the UVA / Virginia Tech football game. He says his father and brother were watching it from two different locations and spent all four quarters on the phone with each other talking about it -- and thought there ought to be an easier way for them to watch the game together.
After several years of research and development, Turner launched a beta -- or test version -- of SimulTV from his home office in Alleghany County last year. The site allows people to watch the same thing at the same time from anywhere in the world, also giving them the ability to interact with each other via facebook, twitter, video chat, and instant message -- all on one screen.
"TV from its very conception, from watching black and white TVs to The Lone Ranger, all the way to the moon landing to the Royal Wedding has been social," said Turner. "Whether you share it with someone on the couch next to you or water cooler talk the next day, it's social. And that's what we're trying to bring back to television."
Fast forward to the present and he still works out of his home office -- only now, he has a satellite office in Blacksburg, he's been featured on the Huffington Post, wired.com, and several other publications, and he's traveled to events in Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo to present his site.
"Some days I was just blown away by some of the doors that were opened to me," said Turner. "It just boils down to, I believe, that God has had his hand in everything I've done and helped to keep this thing moving forward."
It all culminated with the official launch of SimulTV on Thursday.
"I'm nervous about it," said Turner. "But I'm excited. The system is constantly growing."
SimulTV launched with ten different channels for users to choose from which feature cartoons, sports, music, sci-fi, and more. Turner says with the agreements he and his team have worked out, he'll be able to add nearly 40 more within the next month. He hopes to have more than 100 channels and on-demand movies later this year.
Though he admits he's still a long way from facebook or twitter status, he's optimistic people will like what he has to offer.
"It's up to the consumer where it goes," said Turner. "Hopefully they'll love what we've done and use it. And only time will tell."
SimulTV is a subscription service. It will cost users $5 - $20 a month depending on what types of content they want to view. Turner says when on-demand movies come on board they'll likely range in price from $0.99 - $2.99.
You can experience SimulTV for yourself by visiting simultv.com.