OnLive Announced, Subscription-based Service Plans to Change PC Gaming with 720p Cloud Streaming

OnLive today announced plans to launch a new service that will stream PC games with negligible lag to televisions and PCs, eliminating the need for hardware upgrades.

Developed in secret for the past seven years, OnLive makes use of cloud computing, streaming video to your monitor at 720p resolution and 60 frames per second.

Because the video is rendered in a "cloud" of servers, games such as Crysis are delivered at full graphics settings, the only bottleneck being the user's internet connection. 1.5 megabits per second will get you to standard definition, while a 5 megabit connection bumps the resolution to 720p.

nope OnLive's proprietary compression technology boasts a lag time of less than one millisecond in testing, and early reports indicate that the service delivers on this front. Gamasutra notes that OnLive has worked directly with cable and internet providers to eliminate packet loss.

Users will require only a small device (pictured above, left) to connect to the subscription-based service to televisions. Two USB ports and Bluetooth capability service game controllers, while an ethernet connection grabs the signal, and HDMI and audio output jacks output to displays.

The service will also work on any PC, allowing users to play Crysis on a $200 netbook. Users need only subscribe to OnLive and purchase individual games from the library, with the option of buying the "MicroConsole" device for television functionality.

OnLive will feature friends lists and and online profiles in Xbox Live fashion. Brag Clips, 10-second replays that can be captured from any game at any time, will be viewable and shareable through the community interface.

Ubisoft, Take-Two, Electronic Arts, THQ, Atari, Warner Bros., and Epic Games have all signed on to the product, with Activision Blizzard being the major missing name. Publishers will have the option of both selling and renting their games.

The product is similar to a system announced by AMD last year, but OnLive has been demonstrated with success, has the backing of several major publishers, and plans to launch the service later this year.

We'll have more impressions of OnLive following a demonstration of the technology at GDC tomorrow.