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Hillcrest Labs Takes On Boxee With Kylo Web Video Browser

Hillcrest Labs has unveiled a new browser application called Kylo that is designed to make it easier for users to navigate web video content on their TV. Like Boxee, Kylo hopes to capitalize on the trend of consumers who are hooking their PCs to their TVs for watching on-demand video content, by providing an intuitive interface for watching online shows.

Kylo is available as a free download from After installing the browser, you’re met with a welcome screen that offers a wide range of web video content providers, including everything from YouTube (s GOOG) and independent web producers like Revision3, to traditional broadcasters like ABC (s DIS), CBS (s CBS), NBC (s GE) and Fox (S NWS). There are also a number of other applications available, so you can browse Facebook on the big screen, or listen to streaming music via Pandora. But the big selling point is clearly web video.

Kylo is coming to market at the same time that a number of consumer electronics manufacturers are adding web video applications into their connected devices. New HDTVs and Blu-ray players are being sold with web video from content providers like Netflix, Vudu and CinemaNow, among others. At the same time, companies like Roku and Boxee are building set-top boxes specifically to deliver web video to the TV. At the same time, a number of consumers who watch web video on the big screen are still doing so by connecting a PC to their TV.

Since Kylo is nothing more than a Mozilla-based browser that is optimized for viewing on the TVs, the same advertising that plays against the videos it carries over to the TV. As a glorified web browser, it also enables users to connect to any website. That is a key differentiator against Boxee, which also provides an application for web video viewing, but is limited to web video channels that are created specifically for the application.

Hillcrest Labs is also maker of the $99 Loop Pointer in-air mouse, and the company hopes that downloads of the Kylo browser will help spur sales of the Loop. But it’s not necessary to have the Loop Pointer to use Kylo. While the two work nicely together, Kylo can also be navigated with a user’s standard keyboard and mouse just fine.

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13 Responses to “Hillcrest Labs Takes On Boxee With Kylo Web Video Browser”

  1. gonzo90017

    I tried Kylo but I wasn’t that impressed. It works more like a 10ft version of Opera’s Speed Dial. It’s cool to use strictly as a web browser for the tv but not for looking at content through Youtube or other online video sites.

    I’ve been using Zinc for a while and find it to be the best when it comes to online content. It might not be as flashy as Boxee but it just works. I also own the ZVRemote which is a little more expensive compared to the few other remotes that are ideal for navigating the pc on your tv, but it’s absolutely worth every penny.

  2. timekeeper

    So Hillcrest Labs had to create an app for their Loop because no one else was buying their $99 gesture mouse?

    This sounds like a big step for a self professed technology licensing company to actually put out a product. Sounds desperate to me.

  3. When are we going to start seeing the development of apps that do a better job of managing the content you own with the content you are streaming?

    I haven’t let Kylo index my collection yet, but Boxee does an absolutely horrible job of finding content, even on local drives. As far as web content goes, everyone is following the same “podcast” library model, available as a Boxee App, on Kylo, within Windows Media Center, etc. Frankly, the space is getting boring and none of the products have enabled me to get rid of anything else I’m already using.

    I’m still finding it easier to use a wireless mouse and keyboard with Windows 7, and use the appropriate app for viewing content. Hulu and Netflix still look best through a browser vs through Boxee or Windows Media Center. My MKV’s can’t be found by WMC, and only WMC handles TV that it records. GB-PVR may get the job done on the PVR front, but doesn’t have any “discovery” or web content access on its own.

    It has to get easier than running Windows Media Center, Boxee, Miro, and VMC – pointing them all at shared folders – for managing and growing a blended library.

  4. akshunj

    Hulu does not work on Boxee. This functionality has been broken for over a month now. Every few months Hulu breaks something, Boxee pushes a workaround, Hulu breaks it again, rinse and repeat. Hulu has a desktop app which is about as crappy an app as I have ever seen.

    Why oh why can’t we as consumers get a smooth internet TV experience. We’ve shown we’re willing to tolerate commercials! I’d even be willing to SUBSCRIBE to Hulu or a competing or enabling service if it could just allow me to sit back on my couch, click on a show with my remote, and watch it.

    Instead Hulu and the networks hoarde the content with their proprietary, crappy players that fail more often than work. And when 3rd parties come along with a solution, they shut them out. Makes me want to holler and go back to usenet/bittorrent! At least then I can get true high-definition. Ask me how I really feel!

  5. Tired of Boxee

    This is wonderful. I can go anywhere on the web and watch…and I’m not limited to only the content that has bought the Boxee smoke and mirrors story.

    this is a great application.

  6. This sounds a lot like the Zinc.TV video browser which I have been using for a while. I have been happy with Zinc, so I probably would not switch. Has anyone tried the Kylo browser? If so, what were your impressions?