When I first saw iDesktop.tv one of my first thoughts was that it must be a US startup. Now I will admit that is incredibly Silicon-Valley-centric of me, for which apologise. In fact iDesktop.tv is coming out of Davendra Patel’s 3rd Eye Solutions agency in good ol’ Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, UK which makes it doubly cool.
iDesktop.tv – a relaunch of YouTubeDesktop – is basically an Ajax interface onto YouTube videos with a few more features added, chiefly the ability to download videos to your desktop. I know there are apps for this kind of thing, but few achieve this is in the consumer-friendly fashion of iDesktop.tv. When you download a video, you can choose from a variety of formats to convert it to – AVI, MP4, 3GP, 3GP2, MOV, WMV, FLV, EXE or ZIP. That means you can then transfer the video easily to a PC or a mobile phone, iPhone or iPod without using any other converter program. Windows can be dragged around and resized and you can create playlists or share video links with friends. It’s also possible to dim the background while watching videos.
You can also import your saved playlists or favourite videos from YouTube by logging-in. Each user profile displays a video comments list and information and you can see their other other videos or see their favourites. Searching for videos is a fun experience where you can make thumbnails zoom in and out, and search results can be sorted by relevance, date, rating or view count. The player can be opened in a new browser window and be maximised to four different aspect ratios.
There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of monetisation of the site, but I’d put that aside for now, because this is a really interesting interface onto YouTube which even YouTube ought to take a look at.
However, there are of course also some tricky implications. Interfaces like this rob YouTube of advertising impressions while sucking up bandwidth, although in theory pre-oll and post-roll adverts wouldn’t be affected. And don’t even ask about the licensing issues for the videos concerned, but it just goes to show that if you want to put content out there you need to make sure the video itself contains any necessary branding or copyright information.