Squrl for iPad acts like a DVR for Web video

Discover, collect, and watch content from Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, YouTube, Vimeo, and more through one app or in your Web browser.

Screenshot by Joshua Goldman/CNET

It seems like every day there's a new app and/or service to help put all your digital detritus in one interface. Squrl does it for Web video, and while it's not new, its free iOS app just got an update to improve the iPad experience. But even if you don't have an iPad (or iPhone), the browser version of it works well, too.

The site and the app are fairly easy to use. You just sign up for a free account (name and e-mail address) and head to a supported provider (pictured above). Find something you want to watch later and you can either e-mail it to your queue using a provided @squrl.it address, tweet it @squrlit, or drag and drop a one-click button onto your browser; app users get a little acorn icon to click.

There's a social aspect to the service, too. Sure, you can use Twitter and Facebook to share videos, but there's also the Squrl community. Users, called curators, can build video galleries and collections and then share them with others and you can see what others are collecting and watching and view their profiles.

Once you've built up your queue, collections, and galleries, you can watch videos in your browser through the Squrl interface for most content. If you're on an iPad, clips are played back in the app for most content. The app also gives you a "play all" option to watch an entire gallery or collection like a playlist. If you have an Apple TV, video can be pushed to your TV via AirPlay for large-screen viewing. (See the slideshow above for a full walk-through of the iPad app.)

For those who do a lot of video watching through its providers, the service is nice, but there are a couple things missing. Unlike Fanhattan , there's no connection to iTunes content, so if something you want to watch isn't available from the listed providers, there's no dipping into iTunes availability. (However, you can Squrl YouTube movie rentals.)

Also, there's no information on the site explaining how to use the service. Yes, most of it's easy to figure out with some clicking or tapping, but the service is in need of at least a brief introduction on using it. For example, how to build a gallery or collections within a gallery is simple enough, but it's not immediately apparent how to do it.

 

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