Watching Web video on your TV is still more of a hassle than it’s worth. But companies keep tinkering with new solutions to help out.
The latest: Seattle-based Web video technology firm GridNetworks has put together Gridcast TV, a service that links Web video to TVs via Microsoft (MSFT) Xbox 360s — or eventually other devices that support the “UPnP” technology, like Sony’s (SNE) PS3 and Internet-connected TVs.
How does it work? Not as simple as we’d like, but better than nothing:
- GridNetworks Web video customers — content providers like Revision3 — can put a “Watch On TV” button on their sites.
- That button talks to a piece of software called “GridCast Connector” that sits on your PC or Mac. (Cumbersome part: You need a computer, and it needs to be on for this to work.)
- GridCast Connector, in turn, talks to your Xbox 360, telling it that there’s Web video that it can stream.
- A few setup clicks later — instructions here — and you should be able to watch a Web show like “Diggnation” on your TV, via Xbox.
- Once you’re “subscribed” to a content source, you can browse media directly from your Xbox/device.
Glad to see people are working on more outlets for Web video-in-the-living room watching. Impressively, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 seems to be at the middle of a lot of it — it’s also compatible with Netflix’s (NFLX) Internet movie streaming service, Microsoft’s own content offerings, etc.
But we’re hoping it’s eventually easier than this — or mainstream people won’t bother. Which is why we still think the cable companies are still the ones to beat here: They should quickly be able to get whatever content deals everyone else has, and they already have the benefit of an Internet connected, hi-def set-top box connected to millions of TVs.
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