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Friday, December 22, 2006

SofaTube Brings YouTube to Your TV, But Is Early to the Game

SofaTube brings online video to your TV. At least, that's the promise. The idea is that you can hook up your PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Wii to your TV and use your console's Internet capability to watch YouTube or Revver videos through SofaTube's interface. With the recent release of Opera's browser for the Wii, it's a serendipitous debut.

The UI very nicely thumbnails dozens of videos in a free floating space so you quickly click through to the ones you want to watch. The big text makes it easy to read from a distance and will certainly appeal to the elderly. Of course, all this brings to mind Microsoft's failed WebTV endeavor. Will things turn out differently now? It helps that SofaTube isn't selling hardware, but a service. It's piggybacking on Sony, Nintendo, and other console makers. The major problem is how to make users comfortable with holding a keyboard in one hand and a remote in the other when they operate a TV. Or, maybe users could spell out a video's name they want to search for using the Wii-mote. Imagine how exhausting that would be over time, but at least that way, you could put in some exercise while watching TV. Be a couch potato no more.

Right now, SofaTube is probably better used via computer and not console. The video quality is just too low to comfortably view on a TV screen. So, instead of opening multiple tabs in your browser on YouTube, you can click through thumbnail space on SofaTube. Still, when Apple's iTV debuts, it might be worth revisiting SofaTube.


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