Video directory Clicker gets a set-top version

Clicker, a good site for finding mainstream video content, gets a "10-foot" site for TVs to complement its computer-friendly site.

At the Google I/O conference Wednesday, Clicker ( original review ) is releasing a new version of its Web-based video directory at the new site Clicker.tv. The old Clicker.com site stays for all you traditionalists who like text-heavy sites you navigate with a mouse. The new one is designed for the "10-foot experience," which is code for the Google TV set-top box we're all expecting to see at the conference today.

I tried a preview of the Clicker.tv site in Firefox (it wasn't quite working in Chrome when I got access). The site points you to the same content (mainstream TV shows, movies, and music videos) as the .com version, but the interface is very slick, and very easy to navigate with just four direction keys and two buttons (enter and backspace). You also search the site by just typing anywhere; you don't have to zero in on a search box. The HTML5 site feels app-like, and CEO Jim Lanzone told me that when they make an iPad version of Clicker, it'll be basically this site made into an app.

Clicker.tv is a version of the excellent Clicker.com video directory designed for a lean-back, remote control interface.

The future of this app's capability to point to good content, though, is in question. Hulu, and potentially other television video sites, don't always like their content appearing on TV screens, where it can compete with traditional cable delivery. That's one of the reasons that Hulu has blocked Internet set-top apps like Boxee and Hillcrest Labs' Kylo . And now with Clicker moving clearly to the television, it's possible that Hulu will block playback called up via the .tv version of the site--although probably not on the .com version, which is clearly designed for a computer, not a TV.

Clicker's content database includes the format videos are in and where videos are blocked, so when or if Hulu restricts playback via Clicker.tv, users will simply not see the blocked videos on that site. Likewise, when Clicker becomes available for the iPad, users there won't see Flash videos in their searches. Lanzone says that's about half the content the company indexes.

The short summary: Want to use Clicker on a PC or other set-top box connected to a TV? Use this version, at least for now.

 

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