Kyte.tv, the service that wants to be your own interactive TV channel, has finally launched.
We wrote wrote about the company two months ago, after first getting a demo.
You can host your photos, slide-shows, videos all in one place — the Kyte channel — and lets you post the channel player anywhere you want. It also lets you do mashups with things like surveys and music, and is integrated with live chat –distinguishing it from Slide and Rockyou, its closest competitors.
There’s even more to this player, as you’ll see from the example below. We’ve embedded our “VentureBeat channel,” and you’ll see several clips that demonstrate different parts of Kyte. (Click where it says “VentureBeat” underneath the player to see all of the clips). There’s also a brief interview I had Thursday with Draper Richards’ Howard Hartenbaum, the earliest investor in Skype, and also a backer of Kyte. His challenge was to force founder Daniel Graf to release the player — Graf kept holding on to it, to stuff in more features. Once Graf finally agreed to April 23 as launch date, Hartenbaum ordered a stone and had April 23rd etched into it (the stone sits in Daniel’s office).
The challenge for Kyte is whether it can rise above the noise of other players out there. Its multiple features may appeal more to the video/photo aficionado than to the average user.
There are more compelling Kyte channel examples at Kyte.TV itself. See the one at Mashuptown.com, the author of which says he prefers Kyte to YouTube for posting his videos because he can keep them all in one place. Each video within the player has its own URL.
Kyte has made a few changes since we last saw it: While your most recent content shows in the player, there’s a dashboard below giving visitors a glimpse of your earlier content (by clicking on “VentureBeat” in the example above, or easier seen here). If a friend posts to your channel live with a photo from their mobile phone, there’s a red blinking button in the player to show it is real time. Also new: Kyte shows who else is posting your channel on their site, and also trackbacks to show who is viewing your channel (so you can see who on MySpace or Facebook is watching it). The editing tools also let you drag songs over your photos or videos — something that competitors Slide and Rockyou don’t let you do. For now, it doesn’t let you upload music, for legal reasons, but gives you a choice of ten songs it has licensed (more coming) and the option to buy music from from iTunes.
Graf says he’s focused first on growing distribution, but is thinking of ways to make money. One is to take a cut when people purchase music.
At the least, Kyte should be commended for testing the limits of all that we have today — mobile, the Web, music, video and photos and real-time communications — all in one place.