Exclusive: Infinitec demonstrates IUM ad hoc streaming device, makes it look like a flash drive

Chances are you've never heard of Infinitec, a small startup looking to make big waves out of Dubai, but multimedia junkies will probably want to keep a close eye on 'em for the next little while. The outfit dropped by today at CES to give us a sneak peek at its forthcoming Infinite USB memory device (IUM). In short, this device contains a small computer and 802.11n WiFi module within, and it's designed to create point-to-point contact between networked media (or a networked PC with media onboard) and pretty much anything else. You insert the device into a host PC, pair it up once and create a maximum size (1GB for cheap-o players that can't support larger flash drives, 1TB+ for sharing your entire NAS -- for instance), and then connect it to whatever you wish in order to give said device access to those files that you just selected. Basically, it tricks the recipient into thinking a flash drive has been inserted, when in reality it's just giving that device wireless access to media stored elsewhere.

The device serves a few purposes: you can use it to give all sorts of files to other machines in your home, or you could plug it into your HDTV or Blu-ray deck in order to stream PC-bound content right to your den. The goal here was to make other devices assume that this was just one giant flash drive, with gigabytes upon gigabytes of media right on the drive. So far as the receiving PC or set-top box knows, the IUM is just a stock flash drive with a capacity of your choosing. Just drop files over like you would from a standard USB key, and it shoots across the network to its final destination. Currently, it's not suggested that you use this to send files over the internet -- the lag in tunneling just makes for a poor user experience. The demo we witnessed (watching a Simpsons episode that was hosted on a nearby netbook) was remarkably smooth, with the user being able to skip ahead by minutes at a time with no visible lag. There's even the hope that the internals could one day be integrated into laptops in order to remove the need for an external dongle, but for now, you can expect a summertime release in the US and a sub-$150 price tag. So, you fixing to get your stream on, or what?