Clicker's Cool, But Hates Your TV
Not to rain on Clicker's parade, but while the guide to Internet television shows is convenient and easy to use, I'm not really interested until it's more functional on an actual TV.
Clicker digs through the Web to find and categorize Internet TV shows. You can search the site by name or by genre, and there's a fair amount of serendipity involved as well. For example, upon entering the site, you get a feature box with the newest and hottest content. When you click on the final episode of "Friends," a box of related programming on the follwing page reveals the motherlode, with six classic episodes of Seinfeld.
But there's a problem: Watching long videos on your computer is kind of lame. You're sitting a couple feet from the screen, either trying to get comfortable in a a desk chair or trying to get a good viewing angle on your laptop. It'd be ideal to watch Clicker through a set-top box on actual television, but right now, it's a nightmare.
I tried it on my Playstation 3, and it's not pretty. The site is full of tiny buttons, drop-down boxes and Web pages that run on for miles. Clicker ought to take a page from YouTube XL and offer a TV-friendly version, with big buttons on a non-scrolling Web page. It should also look for some set-top boxes to call home.
I'm not the only one who wants this. Clicker, on its blog, acknowledges that users "want to access Clicker in more places, like Boxee, PS3, Windows Media Center and iPhone," and says that along with other suggested features, "we're all over this stuff."
Unfortunately, there's a bigger issue that's not even Clicker's fault. Some videos just wouldn't play on my PS3, because content owners are trying their hardest to make sure your TV sticks with cable content, not the online version of the same video. Hulu disabled itself on the Playstation 3 during the summer, and has repeatedly tried to block Boxee, whose video aggregation software is designed for TV sets. If you visit YouTube XL, you won't find all the premium content that's available on the main Web site.
I don't know how much Clicker content wouldn't be viewable on a television, but with more than 400,000 episodes from over 7,000 shows, there's got to be enough to make a set-top version worthwhile, and soon.