Hardly a week goes by without a new app that promises to bring the best of web video through the power of social discovery. That’s why I found it refreshing to receive a pitch for a new desktop video player that omits the usual social bells and whistles: Mixd.tv emphasizes traditional branded channels instead of Twitter and Facebook. “We don’t really believe that this is what people are crying out for,” the company’s COO Sonny Dawn-Hiscox told me with regard to social sharing.
Of course, Mixd.tv isn’t ignoring social networks completely. The application, which is currently being tested in private beta, offers users a way to quickly create playlists of their favorite videos and share them with other Mixd.tv users online. Dawn-Hiscox said via email that this kind playlist sharing is “a central part” of Mixd.tv’s future, which will be built out further in the months to come.
Users can also share their favorite videos on Facebook, but the social network isn’t essential for Mixd.tv. “Those who want to see video that their ‘friends’ are sharing, should also have the ability to do so,” he said.”However, this is very much an opt-in part of the service.” He also said that the hopes others pin on the power of the social graph for discovery are “optimistic at best,” given the fact that most Facebook users have hundreds of friends with widely varying interests.
So what does Mixd.tv offer its users? Aside from the playlist sharing feature, it puts a big emphasis on branded channels. Users can browse and subscribe to channels from publishers like TED, Revision3 and Vimeo. There are also a large number of German-language channels, simply because Mixd.tv is developed in Berlin. Dawn-Hiscox said that the company is working on an API to allow third-party developers to add their own channels even for content sources without RSS feeds. Publishers will also able to brand these channels with themes.
I have to admit I thought of open-source video player Miro a few times while testing Mixd.tv, both in terms of the functionality as well as the fact that the app is available for Windows, OS X and Linux. I asked Dawn-Hiscox about it, and he had this to say: “Mixd.tv aims to be the one stop solution for video discovery and consumption.” Miro’s focus seemed much broader and less focused, he mused, joking: “Video, music and apps — they only need to add books and they will be the next Amazon.”
Check out a few screenshots of the Mixd.tv app: