Hillcrest Labs Takes On Boxee With Kylo Web Video Browser

Hillcrest Labs has unveiled a new browser application called Kylo that is designed to make it easier for users to navigate web video content on their TV. Like Boxee, Kylo hopes to capitalize on the trend of consumers who are hooking their PCs to their TVs for watching on-demand video content, by providing an intuitive interface for watching online shows.

Kylo is available as a free download from www.kylo.tv. After installing the browser, you’re met with a welcome screen that offers a wide range of web video content providers, including everything from YouTube (s GOOG) and independent web producers like Revision3, to traditional broadcasters like ABC (s DIS), CBS (s CBS), NBC (s GE) and Fox (S NWS). There are also a number of other applications available, so you can browse Facebook on the big screen, or listen to streaming music via Pandora. But the big selling point is clearly web video.

Kylo is coming to market at the same time that a number of consumer electronics manufacturers are adding web video applications into their connected devices. New HDTVs and Blu-ray players are being sold with web video from content providers like Netflix, Vudu and CinemaNow, among others. At the same time, companies like Roku and Boxee are building set-top boxes specifically to deliver web video to the TV. At the same time, a number of consumers who watch web video on the big screen are still doing so by connecting a PC to their TV.

Since Kylo is nothing more than a Mozilla-based browser that is optimized for viewing on the TVs, the same advertising that plays against the videos it carries over to the TV. As a glorified web browser, it also enables users to connect to any website. That is a key differentiator against Boxee, which also provides an application for web video viewing, but is limited to web video channels that are created specifically for the application.

Hillcrest Labs is also maker of the $99 Loop Pointer in-air mouse, and the company hopes that downloads of the Kylo browser will help spur sales of the Loop. But it’s not necessary to have the Loop Pointer to use Kylo. While the two work nicely together, Kylo can also be navigated with a user’s standard keyboard and mouse just fine.

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