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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

November 17, 2008 at 12:04 AM

Seattle’s GridNetworks launches “click-to-watch” Web video on Xbox, PS3

After spending two years building infrastructure for quickly delivering video over the Internet, Seattle’s GridNetworks today is launching GridCast TV with several Web video sites.

GridCast adds a buttons to Web videos so people browsing at home can click “watch on TV” and have the video streamed across their home networks for playback on an Xbox 360, PlayStation3 or TVs with other systems for connecting to the Internet.

The first time a user clicks one of the buttons, Grid downloads a small application that uses DLNA media streaming standards. Videos are up to 720p resolution depending on the speed of the user’s network connection.

Launch partners include Revision3, havocTV and IndieFlix, which earlier used GridNetworks to stream independent videos during the Seattle International Film Festival. Additional channels will be announced soon, executives said.

It’s a nice way to get videos from the Web to your television if you have the right setup and you’re interested in the content from sites using the technology. I wonder, though, how GridCast will compete with Flash and Silverlight-based TV and movie services including those from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.com.

Grid Chief Executive Tony Naughtin, who earlier co-founded Internap, said the service was “designed for the living room” unlike Flash, and it gives publishers control over the content they choose to stream with this technology. It’s also not exclusive – a Web site could add Grid “watch on TV” buttons and also offer other ways to stream the content around the home.

Other founders and managers of Grid are veterans of RealNetworks and Cisco. It’s backers include Comcast, Panorama Capital and Cisco. Naughtin said they may seek a second round of funding in mid to late 2009.

While the consumer-oriented service is surfacing now, the company continues to develop back-end technologies for video broadcasting that will be released later.

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