Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Web Video, on Your TV, That Looks Like TV

There are now lots of ways to get Web video onto your TV. But in lots of cases that stuff still looks like Web video — clips you’re not supposed to watch for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

So here’s another attempt to blur the line between Web video and “real” TV: Net2TV, a new service that takes Web clips and tries to create TV-like “channels” designed to be watched from your couch.

Sound familiar? YouTube is embracing the “channel” concept too, because Google thinks that’s the best way to get TV-like engagement and ad dollars. But YouTube is always going to be a freewheeling site, designed to be consumed on lots of different screens.

Net2TV’s take is much more focused: The company is only interested in getting stuff onto TV screens.

It takes clips made by Web video producers like CBS Interactive and Discovery’s Revision 3* and stitches them together into something that should resemble a “real” show. Then it moves them to a clever app designed for Web-connected TVs, which lets you see previews of the shows instead of static screenshots.

This won’t appear revolutionary if you’re sitting on your couch, which is sort of the point. The Net2TV guys want this stuff to look and feel like the TV you’re already used to watching. Or, at the very least, some of the video on demand programming lots of people now watch. Here’s a sample clip of programming from CBS’s

Things get a little more confusing from there then they should, since some of the programming will get presented via their own brands like Chow, and other stuff falls under a “Portico” brand Net2TV is trying to launch. But maybe all of that gets sorted out over time.

Right now, the Net2TV shows will appear on all of Philips’ Web TVs, and the company says it has other deals in the works. The plan is to generate money via ads (the programs themselves are free), and split the proceeds between the content owners, Net2TV and the hardware guys. Net2TV has seed money from Lauder Partners, and is out trying to raise a B round now.

*Net2TV is also working with the Wall Street Journal, which like this site is owned by News Corp.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus