Zviewer breaks out of the (Zv)Box

Until I find the time to crank out a proper ZvBox review, anyone can now give the promising Zviewer dashboard a spin. The Mozilla-based software is being releasing today as a public beta, without requiring an investment in $500 ZvBox hardware. While Zviewer will pretty much work on any PC (Mac support is coming), the main benefit of the large, lean-back interface is achieved by utilizing it in conjunction with a living room PC and remote control. I like where they’re going with this, though the top priorities going forward should be capturing more web video content before new windows can be spawned and working with sites for universal transport controls. From a marketing angle, giving away the software is a great way to get the word out on ZvBox.

Zviewer can take you anywhere on the web, or to the content and applications that you have on your computer, providing practically unlimited video on demand. Users with Microsoft Media Center-compatible remote controls will gain TV-like remote navigation using Zviewer, and functions like Play and Pause will work natively on popular websites such as Hulu. ZeeVee’s ZvRemote includes additional features such as a Full Screen button, on-screen keyboard for text input, and complete mouse control via a touchpad—allowing you to operate any website or desktop application from the couch.

7 thoughts on “Zviewer breaks out of the (Zv)Box”

  1. Whats surprising to me is that we’re seeing Hulu and other online support from those other than Microsoft, SageTV and Beyond TV. I’m glad to see the push from the newer guys such as Boxee and now ZeeVee hoping that will push SageTV and others further into this realm.

  2. Have always found the web-to-big screen solutions always ignore my preferences, user channel and search ( example: Cooliris ). Is this latest version any better?

    I have my YouTube and Miro channels configured just how I like them – Why do “lean backs” ignore, throw all that out?

    Also, can we think of a better slang term / jargon than “lean back”?

  3. Alternatives to ‘lean back’ are ‘couch-based’ and ’10 foot interface’ – though I’m open to others.

    TiVo’s YouTube app recently saw an update that allows your to login into your account. Though, I haven’t tried it yet. PlayOn also connects to your personalized YouTube feed. Zviewer doesn’t offer specific YouTube accounts at the moment, but it’s in beta… perhaps feedback such as yours will help guide them.

  4. Todd,
    YouTube makes it difficult to access the “channel” information from outside of YouTube. I think this is why you don’t see that sort of functionality in most of them.

  5. @Brent

    “YouTube makes it difficult to access the “channel” information from outside of YouTube”

    I am calling BS on that. My channel and my RSS are both readily available:

    “…Tivo users will be able to log into their YouTube accounts from their TiVo boxes and access their favorite YouTube channels and playlists.”

    – from the YouTuve API home page

    I thinks its a total disregard for us, the long suffering end users by Zv and all the other “lean backers” ( With the exception of TiVo ). They just want to sell our attention to the highest bidder and give nothing in return.

  6. Definitely a step in the right direction as I think the price on the ZvBox could potentially limit users. For the Zviewer, if you want to watch media files on your pc, all it does is open the application that you use, correct, it isn’t like WMC or SageTV where the “media viewer” is built in?

  7. Damian, that’s correct – it’s a front-end/launcher for other services and applications. However, I do believe the ultimate goal is to embed playback where/if possible.

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