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GlideTV is one of 65 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2010 event taking place this week. These companies do pay a fee to present, but our coverage of them remains objective.
Last fall, GlideTV launched a cool wireless touchpad that serves as a remote control for people who want to hook their computers to their TV sets. Now it’s announcing a new software application that makes it easy to watch and find movies on the web.
The new What’s On feature aggregates a lot of web videos in a single channel that users can browse to discover movies and video. The service is for people who have already figured out how to connect their computer to the TV, using the necessary Mac or Windows Media Center software as well as a connection such as a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) cable. The What’s On interface is a gallery of cover art for shows that you can click on and watch instantly, for free. The What’s On feature will be available within 90 days.
GlideTV’s Navigator wireless touchpad can be used in one hand to point at the screen and open applications. It has buttons for play, fast forward, or reverse while watching videos. If you have to search for a movie by spelling out its name, you can use a virtual keyboard on the screen. The system uses predictive text to take a guess at what you’re typing in order to speed the process of finding a video.
The grid guides for navigating through cable TV channels make sense when you have a small number of channels, but they’re not so useful when navigating through a ton of stuff. With What’s On, users can browse the whole web, not just a mere subset of it as you get with other movie services, said Chris Painter, president of GlideTV. Rivals include Roku, Boxee, Hillcrest Labs, Logitech, and others (including the Google, Intel and Sony alliance for creating a Google version of web-based TV). But many of those offer just a slice of what the web offers. With GlideTV, you can even access adult content; although, if you want to filter that out, you can put a parental control system on the PC. GlideTV also includes a new custom web browser with its solution.
Video is organized by category and genre. With the new Navigator application, you can also watch one show and search for news about a favorite celebrity at the same time, or hop from YouTube to Hulu to Facebook while streaming Pandora web music in the background. The handheld Navigator is designed to look cool, so it fits in your palm and can be used with just a thumb (see video). It communicates via a radio frequency (RF) connection to the PC (via a USB radio receiver), and the PC connects to the TV via the standard HDMI or other connection.
“The idea is to give users the whole experience of the web, organized into categories like news, sports, TV and movies,” Painter said.
Do people really want PC content on the TV? Painter notes that users search for “PC to TV” on Google more than 400,000 times a month.
The GlideTV Navigator is available for $149 via Amazon.com and the company’s web site. Painter said the company is pleased with early sales, but declined to disclose numbers. The company has 10 employees and was founded in 2008. It is currently looking for funding and has not disclosed its current funding.
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