New York City-based startup Shelby.tv is now open to the public, making its social video recommendations service available to all. And it’s doing so with the introduction of an iOS (s AAPL) app that will bring the same type of video viewing experience available on its website to the iPad and iPhone.
Shelby.tv launched in closed alpha earlier this year, debuting an easy-to-use, leanback experience for discovering videos that connections have shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. All users have to do is log in with Facebook or Twitter (or both) and they will be shown a continuous feed of videos from those networks. Users can then also share videos with their own friends and followers, like them or bookmark them for later.
In addition to its website, the startup has expanded its availability with the introduction of an iOS app that will bring similar functionality to the iPad and iPhone. Shelby.tv CEO Reece Pacheco told us in a phone interview that the goal was to make the service available beyond just a user’s web browser. “The thing that’s really cool is to extend this beyond the desktop,” Pacheco said. “At night you don’t really want to hop on your computer, and now you can browse these videos in bed on your iPad.”
Over the last few months, the Shelby.tv team has been working on improving its user experience, including de-duplicating videos shared by multiple connections. Now when that happens, the application and website note all the folks who have shared it. It’s also been working on adding content from new video sources. In addition to displaying videos from YouTube (s GOOG) and Vimeo, (s IACI) Shelby.tv recently added videos from Hulu as well.
The public launch is a big step forward for Shelby.tv, which will now compete on a broader scale with similar social discovery tools like VHX.tv, Showyou and Boxee’s iPad app. Each has its own way of allowing users to discover, share and bookmark videos that their friends have shared.
Shelby.tv was part of TechStars’ first class of New York startups, and raised $1.5 million in a round led by Avalon Ventures that also included angel investors like DFJ’s Tim Draper, Buddy Media’s Mike Lazerow, Simulmedia’s Dave Morgan and Hearst’s George Kliavkoff, among others.
(Disclosure: Showyou is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.)