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Flip Video gets channels, iPhone app for viewing

Flip Video users are getting a handy software update that will allow them to very quickly (and privately) share video clips with friends and family sans YouTube or some other video host.

Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the Flip series digital video recorders, has a new update for its FlipShare software going out Tuesday that makes it easier to share videos without having to use YouTube, MySpace, or another video hosts.

Users can now create channels that can only be accessed by users who have been invited by e-mail. Any time you add a video to one of these channels, the people on your list get a message that contains thumbnail previews and direct links to the newly added clips. While the video quality may not be up to snuff compared with watching your HD-recorded content via a host that supports HD, it's certainly not bad.

The channels feature has been designed largely to satisfy the needs of Flip users who want to share items privately. While shared videos aren't as social as if you had shared them on a site like YouTube or MySpace, you do get a higher level of control over what users can see after having sent them the link; permission to view certain video items can be taken away at any time. You can also drag videos in and out of channels to change the clips you want people to see.

Channel sharing lets you share videos to specific people privately, and without the use of third-party video hosts. CNET

Along with the addition of channels to the FlipShare software, the company is announcing an application for the iPhone that will let you, and people you've shared videos with, watch clips right on the device. However the application will not be available for download until it receives approval from Apple. This is interesting in itself, since the newly announced iPhone 3G S will let users record video on their device, edit it, and upload it to various hosts. For many, this will reduce the appeal of Flip's devices since you cannot do any editing or uploading without first connecting it to a computer.