gridnetworks.bmpGridNetworks, a start-up from Seattle that is offering a new video streaming technology, has launched — and wants to steal some of the Venice Project’s thunder.

We downloaded the Grid player software, and are impressed. Check out this example of Little Miss Sunshine (you’ll have to download their software).

It aims to compete with the upcoming Venice Project, which is the company started by the Skype co-founders. Venice is supposed to launch in New York at the Television conference Thurs. or Friday. Venice Project is a peer-to-peer technology (hosted on a network of individual computers) for television viewing as simply as they did peer-to-peer for phones.

GridNetwork, for its part, says its video delivery platform delivers full-screen, DVD-quality video in a format that is better than the other guys out there. It may depend on what side of the table you’re sitting on, though. Grid says it will give media publishers full control, which we’ll explain below, to create their own version of YouTube. The Venice Project, while not out yet, but based on the reports dribbling out, puts more power in the hands of consumers, giving them their own version of YouTube, but for better quality videos.

Grid is a hybrid of peer-to-peer and content delivery network (CDN) technology — taking the best of both. Peer-to-peer is cheap but open to copyright abuse. GridNetworks uses computer nodes (peers) in the network, but places each of them in a distribution grid that delivers encrypted video via a centralized platform that allows it to keep the system legal. By using P2P, it avoids the cost of traditional CDN hardware.

The company has raised an angel round, and is run by an accomplished team led by Jeff Payne, who founded Real Broadcast Network in the mid-1990s. The team has the advantage of watching the likes of other delivery companies such as Kontiki, BitTorrent and Redswoosh (which has a similar hybrid CDN/P2P model), and have built in new technology to make delivery even smoother, Payne said. Grid has created a “Media Vault” feature that allows media companies to control their content delivery. It has built in redundant nodes, and compression technology, and supports both Flash and Windows Media players

It delivers a 1.2GB movie at a cost of 25 to 50 cents, which is pretty cheap.

Here is its statement on technology.