Remember the Loop? It was an accelerometer-equipped remote for media centers that arrived last June. It worked pretty well. Now the company behind it, Hillcrest Labs, is going to try its hand at a web browser called Kylo—for television!
The main reason for Kylo's existence is to work with—and presumably sell—its $100 motion-sensing Loop remote control, although any mouse will sync up with the browser just fine. (Hillcrest's Loop connects to the computer as a mouse, and like Kylo, works on Windows and OS X.)
The browser, available for free, isn't meant to replace your trusty ol' PC browser, or decimate Internet Explorer's install base numbers. Instead, as is the trend these days, it's meant to establish a presence (or beachhead, in Kylo's case) in the home server and Internet TV space. Not internet-connected TVs, but TVs with actual computers connected to them.
And because it's meant for viewing the Internet on big, beautiful HDTVs, Hillcrest has designed a number of specific features for the browser. They include large fonts and an on screen keyboard, similar to the Wii, that eliminates the need for a physical keyboard.
They've also thrown in a set of paneled links to content, which make jumping to the kind of content you'd want to see on a TV—video, news and game sites, mostly—a less tedious prospect.
Hillcrest Labs Introduces Kylo™: The Web Browser for Television
- Available for the Millions of Households That Connect Their Computers to TVs -
- Provides Optimized Presentation of Web Sites for Viewing From the Living Room Couch -
- Free, Mozilla-based Browser Compatible With Windows or Mac OS® -
- Ideal for Use With the Loop™ Pointer, but Works With Any Mouse -
Rockville, MD and Palm Desert, CA – March 22, 2010 – Today, at the DEMO Spring 2010 event, Hillcrest Labs launched the Kylo™ browser – a new Web browser for TV. Developed for the millions of households that connect their PCs or Macs to the TV, Kylo lets users visit any site on the Web with a browser that was specifically designed to be viewed from a distance in the family room, living room, or dorm room.
The Kylo browser is not meant to replace traditional browsers such as Internet Explorer®, Safari®, or Firefox® for use with standard computer display screens, but instead is for use on a television connected to a computer. Unlike other applications or Web sites, Kylo is not a "walled garden" of aggregated video content, but rather a true Web browser that lets users go where they want across the Internet.
"No matter how hard they try, no single set-top-box manufacturer, specialized TV widget developer, or content aggregator can match the volume of online viewing choices available on a computer," said Dan Simpkins, founder and CEO of Hillcrest Labs. "For this reason, many consumers are simply using their new HDTVs as an alternative display for their PCs or Macs. So, we've developed Kylo as a free and simple TV browser that enables them to visit any site on the Web, and makes the entire experience more enjoyable."
Despite this growing trend, the first hurdle that consumers face is the physical act of connecting their computers to their TVs. For this reason, Hillcrest Labs developed a simple online guide to help people get started: www.hillcrestlabs.com/loop/connecting.php.
"When users connect their computer to the TV, they typically run into a series of mundane and irritating complications," said Simpkins. "Many people rely on unsightly keyboards and mice on their coffee tables or couches – often to the dismay of their spouse or roommate."
Simpkins continued, "Some Web sites have optimized settings for TV viewing, but most do not. Fonts and items of interest are generally too small, and too hard to see from across the room. In addition, conventional Web browsers tend to clutter the screen with unnecessary status bars, menus, tabs, indicators and more, since they were designed to be used from two feet away. People deserve something better when it's time to connect to the TV."
The Solution: Kylo Browser + the Loop Pointer (or Any Other Mouse)
Last year, Hillcrest Labs launched its iconic Loop pointer as its first company-branded product for consumers. The stylish in-air mouse was named a CES 2010 Innovations Award Honoree, and is powered by Hillcrest's Freespace© in-air pointing and motion-control technology. Hillcrest's Freespace technology is also used in the award-winning Logitech MX™ Air Rechargeable Cordless Mouse. Like the Kylo browser, the Loop pointer was specifically designed for consumers who connect their computers to TVs. It is available for $99 via Hillcrest Labs or Amazon.com at www.hillcrestlabs.com/loop.
"We've been very pleased with consumers' responses to the Loop pointer," said Chad Lucien, vice president of Freespace products at Hillcrest Labs. "With just four buttons and a scroll wheel, it's an attractive, in-air mouse for the living room."
Simpkins added, "With the Loop pointer, we felt that we had the right hardware for consumers, but that was just part of the solution. The Kylo browser lets people view any Web site from a distance, use an onscreen keyboard, and benefit from a suite of optimized features for surfing the Web from the couch."
Key features of the Kylo Web browser for TV include:
* the ability to visit any site on the Web;
* an onscreen keyboard that appears when there is a need to enter text, eliminating the need for a physical keyboard; compatibility with any physical keyboard for users who prefer to use one;
* Fonts, cursor, and onscreen targets are larger than those in traditional browsers;
* easy zooming and panning;
* the maximization of useful viewing space by hiding or removing toolbars, tabs, buttons and indicators;
* works with any mouse, but ideal for use with an in-air mouse such as the Loop pointer;
* easy bookmarking;
* a directory of links to dozens of popular Web sites;
* a Mozilla-based design, and
* free, easy download and setup.
The Kylo browser is available for free via download at www.kylo.tv or www.hillcrestlabs.com/kylo. Additional details about Hillcrest Labs are available at www.hillcrestlabs.com.