We’re a social bunch, and we love videos. Shocking, I know. Granted, there are a lot of choices out there for watching video via the Internet, but Shufflr is taking things a few steps further. It’s not perfect (yet), but it’s really close.
Shufflr is an Adobe Air-based application that overtakes your desktop, somewhat like Boxee. But where Boxee seems to have a pretty limited source of video, Shufflr excels. You’ll find video from YouTube, blip.tv ,Revision 3, TED and Metacafe just to name a few.
You can download Shufflr now, and give it a spin. The signup process is annoyingly long, but there is a Facebook connect option if you so choose.
Once you’re inside of the Shufflr application, you’ll see 3 main choices:
- Friends Activity
Initially, Shufflr will ask you to choose 3 topics of videos that are of interest to you. Once you’ve done that, then watched a few on your own, Shufflr will start to provide recommendations.
The trending videos, plus the friends functionality, are what set Shufflr apart from the rest of the field. Given time, and more users, this social video function will be extremely useful. For now, it’s still good, but hasn’t had enough time to be fleshed out.
The UI is beautifully done. Once you’re in a channel, you click and drag the wall of videos left or right to display more choices. Watching a video is an equally pleasurable experience, as it simply moves to the center of your screen.
Now, for the parts I’m not so keen on:
Due to the Adobe Air platform, it’s a bit resource-heavy. I had to shut down some other running applications on my desktop machine (which is aging, but not old by any means) to get smooth video playback across all sources.
The UI, while stunning, is a bit of a pain in the tail to use. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the area that you’ll need to click and drag in order to get the video wall to move. This should be clarified or at least made to work better.
3 words: No Netflix integration.
Make these 3 things work better and you can wave goodbye to Hulu and Boxee. But until that point, Shufflr is still a great option for truly an immersive video experience, with social trending functions.