Overview of Shelby.tv:
The founders of Shelby.tv got their start on a little known reality TV show called Tech Stars, and since then have secured a hearty amount of funding for this video discovery platform. With Shelby Genius apps for the iPad and iPhone released this fall, and a makeover of its website that will debut soon, Shelby.tv is a notable contender in the fight against old-fashioned television. The app is free, and the website allows you to explore without signing up, making this simple video discovery platform worth checking out.
The Shelby.tv Website:
Shelby.tv lets you curate your own tv channel. According to the site, "It's like a blog, except you post video and don't have to write so much" -a fitting description. Once you become a member, you can either log in using Facebook, Twitter, or a dedicated Shelby.tv user account, and start curating. You'll be able to 'follow' other users' channels and they'll be able to keep up with yours by 'following' you, or checking out username.tv. The aim of the project is to create web-based TV channels that are curated by media and entertainment networks, and people like you!
Online Shelby.tv channels offer a simple layout, with arrows on either side of the video to navigate the queue, and a video playlist along the left-hand side of the screen. Each video offers you the chance to add it to your personal queue, "roll" the video to your channel, share, and leave comments.
Shelby Genius iPhone and iPad App:
The Shelby Genius app uses API Genius technology that creates a database of videos based on user's searches, and which videos work. An app that uses this technology will improve over time as more and more users search for the videos that matter to them. Sheby Genius doesn't include premium video sources like Hulu Plus and Netflix. It draws video from YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion, which all host free content. This strategy is essential to the simple user interface of the app, letting the user focus on searching and watching video rather than synching the appropriate accounts to arrange the search database beforehand.
Searching With Shelby Genius:
The main page of the Shelby Genius app features a search bar, with your search history underneath. Putting the cursor in the search box prompts the app to suggest a search term for you, presumably based on what other users are searching. Whether you use the suggested search or come up with one of your own, simply click the lightbulb icon to the right of the search bar to check our your results. A search for "paper" (suggested by Shelby) yields a diverse selection of videos including a music video by a new band that uses paper as a prop, an instructional YouTube video called "How to Make a Paper Balloon", and a webisode from The Rangers - a group known for their single, "That Paper". The Shelby search tool doesn't just use your chosen search term as a topic, it mines the web for popular videos loosely associated with the term, and brings you results that check you into what's hot online.
Search results appear in a list on the screen with a link to share the video via Twitter, Facebook and email. When you finish a video the next one automatically plays, providing smooth, continuous playback. In addition, you can use playback controls to skip around the playlist by double-clicking on your mobile device's home button. Perhaps the most important feature of Shelby Genius is Airplay support, which lets you 'throw' the video from your mobile device to T.V. with the click of a button.
Shelby.tv and Shelby Genius favor simplicity over versatility. By cutting down on user options, the app keeps the fun of video discovery where it belongs - in the results!