VHX optimizes its social discovery site for the iPad

VHX.tv is going mobile in a big way. The social video discovery startup, which launched its website earlier this year, has now optimized its platform to work on Apple mobile devices (s AAPL) such as the iPhone and iPad.

VHX allows users to watch streams of videos that their friends share on social networks including Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Once users sign up and connect their social networking accounts, those users are fed a continuous stream of videos that their friends have shared with them. They can comment on, like and share those videos with other followers on VHX or friends on other social networks. And now, all of those functions are optimized to work on the iPad and iPhone.

But why create an iPad-optimized mobile site? Why not just create a native iOS app? VHX co-founder Casey Pugh wrote to us in an email:

“We went with mobile web because it’s simply very easy for us to do and wanted our community to have VHX anywhere as soon as possible. It also makes it very easy for us to extend compatibility to Android and other mobile platforms. Currently, the only advantage a native mobile app will have is that it will be smoother and faster.”

While the mobile website might lack some of the speed that a native app would bring, it still takes advantage of one of the iPad’s biggest features: AirPlay. With AirPlay, the iPad-optimized VHX site allows users to push videos to the Apple TV, letting them view any video they discover on the iPad to the big screen.

That said, Pugh wrote that native apps for Apple devices are coming soon. And VHX is also trying to optimize its site for other mobiles devices that viewers might want to tune in on. “We’re focused on building the best possible viewing experience for web video, and designed our web interface to work on all the possible devices we use,” Pugh wrote.

While VHX is working on expanding its platform to other devices, it’s not the only startup focused on the issue of social discovery for web video. Shelby.tv has a similar full-screen web experience for discovering videos from your friends on social networks. Remixation’s Showyou app, which launched with a native app on the iPad earlier this year, also hopes to make it easier for users to find and share videos on social networks. Even Boxee is getting into the mix, launching an iPad app last week that seeks to combine social discovery with bookmarking and home media viewing.

Update: In a followup email, Pugh writes that he’s also tested the mobile site on Android devices and it also works, although it’s not as stable as the iPhone or iPad.

(Disclosure: Remixation is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.)