Until now, Smart TVs haven’t been very smart. After all, most smart TV platforms don’t do much more than allow developers to build applications that can be used to stream video or maybe play some crappy casual games. But when it comes to converging applications between the TV, PCs and mobile devices, new platforms have been somewhat slow to develop. That’s where startup Clik and its smart TV development platform comes in.
The startup released the Clik mobile app Thursday, letting users browse YouTube videos on their iOS or Android mobile devices and beaming them to the enabled Clik screen. The app is more of a proof-of-concept than anything, showing how the platform can be used to connect mobile devices with more or less any screen that has a browser. The most obvious example is a PC, but it can also be used with Google TV-enabled devices, as well as devices with Webkit browsers, like the Boxee Box by D-Link.
To take advantage of the app, users need only download the Clik mobile app, go to www.ClikThis.com in any supported browser, and scan the website’s QR code to pair the screen and mobile device. Multiple users and mobile devices can be used to control the same screen, by enabling multiplayer mode.
While the current Clik app adds mobile control to YouTube videos, the startup hopes to enable other developers to create apps on the platform. Currently in private beta, the startup’s partner program is targeting three verticals to start: streaming video providers, streaming music services and game developers.
Imagine, for instance, being able find to control a Spotify playlist from your mobile device while blasting it through your home theater system. Or you could play a game of Texas Hold ‘em on a TV or PC where your cards appear on the mobile device, but community cards and bets appear on the primary screen. Those are the types of experiences Clik CEO Ted Livingston, which can be powered over Wi-Fi or even mobile 3G networks.
While there are lots of smart TV development platforms out there, few now provide the same kind of flexibility in connecting mobile, PCs and TVs that Clik enables. The closest might be Samsung’s Smart TV platform, which is pushing connectivity between the manufacturer’s TVs and Android-based mobile phones and tablets. One other advantage of Clik is that developers can use today’s web standards, without having to worry about writing specifically for one mobile or connected TV platform.
Livingston and the rest of the Clik crew were the same group that released the popular Kik messaging platform. The new venture is funded by $8 million that the Kik team raised from Union Square Ventures, RRE Ventures and Spark Capital last March. The company now has 26 employees, most of which are focused on developing the new smart TV but it will continue to support Kik’s messaging apps.