Kylo – The Web Browser Built for Televisions

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web browser for televisionBrowse the entire Internet from your couch. Kylo is a browser built for living room surfing, with buttons easily seen from a distance and zooming functionality always at hand. Media centers like Boxee, XBMC and the Hulu Desktop all have their uses, but none of them give you access to the entire Internet. If you have working plugins for everything you’ve ever wanted, that’s great. But sometimes access to the entire web is useful, and Kylo can provide that.

Whether you want to watch sports not broadcast in your country or search for a specific video, Kylo has you covered and is free for Windows and Mac systems. Download Kylo here and keep reading to find out what it can do.

The Basics

Fire up Kylo and you’ll quickly discover that it’s not so different from other browsers. Built using the same Mozilla framework as Firefox, Kylo’s main innovation is its user interface. Similar in some ways to the Wii’s built-in browser, Kylo relies on the mouse for most of its functionality.

Unlike the Wii browser, however, video from around the web works well – even in HD. I was quickly able to find a hockey game on Yahoo Sports just by browsing:

web browser for television

Anything that works in Firefox works here, it seems, so Flash and Silverlight videos both work well.

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Particularly nifty is the URL bar. You can type a URL or search terms. If your search term happens to be a TV show, you’ll see search results from Clicker as you type. It’s a great way to quickly find content:

browser for television

These links won’t work well outside the United States, sadly, so many people may want to turn this feature off.

You’ll also notice an on-screen keyboard, which makes it possible to search with only a mouse or remote. Not bad.

Tabs are handled pretty well. Click the bar above the address bar and you’ll see all the tabs you have open:

browser for television

I find this very functional, because a browser without tabs isn’t useful but a web browser for a TV doesn’t have a lot of space to spare.

Oh Wow, Content!

Did I mention the start page? There’s a pretty cool start page.

web browser for television

Here you’ll find most of the major video sources on the web, and the Kylo team is pretty cool about keeping it up to date. Every link, or “channel” if you will, is broken down into categories you can browse at the top. Hover over a channel and you’ll see which categories that channel is in.

You cannot add your own channels to this interface at present, which is sad. You can, however, manage your own bookmarks. Find the bookmarks by clicking the star in the bottom bar and you can build up your own collection of web videos.

Enable Your Remote

Kylo is built to be controlled via a mouse; specifically, a movement-based mouse designed by its parent company. While this gadget does seem nifty, many will want to make use of Kylo without making an investment. Happily this is possible. As explained on Kylo’s blog, you can easily enable WMC remotes. This basically maps the arrow keys and enter to function as a mouse, which is clunky but will give most remotes the ability to browse.

If you want to get really creative, try to use your Wii remote as a mouse. You’ll have the browsing experience Nintendo should have provided in the first place!

Hulu?

As much as I love Hulu, I really do hate its policies from time to time. This is one of those times. You see, Hulu doesn’t work from within Kylo. It’s blocked. This is insane, because Kylo is nothing more than a browser, but alas. So far as I can tell there’s no current workaround for this.

Happily most of the content is free on other channels, and the Clicker search functionality should guide you to those sources pretty well. Still, this is annoying. Kylo should really remove that Hulu shortcut from the starting page.

Conclusion

Kylo fills a web-shaped-hole found on many media center computers, so check it out. Being able to browse the web from your couch is a plus, with or without a fancy mouse.

Do you have anything to add? Leave it in the comments below. Also feel free to suggest other TV browsers, and potential Hulu workarounds.

Oh, and before you mention it: I know Boxee has a browser. I just don’t find it very functional. Feel free to try to correct me, but I find Kylo a lot easier to use.

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