Back in December, we brought you news on Stevie, the oddly-named TV-focused startup that emerged from Microsoft’s Azure Accelerator in Israel earlier in the year. At the time, it had just closed a $1.5m Series-A funding round and launched a new iPhone app. This followed a few months after its launch on Xbox.
Just to recap, Stevie’s social TV layer combines content from your Facebook and Twitter feeds, along with popular videos from YouTube. To keep the experience as “lean-back” as possible, it is displayed directly over the content you are watching.
Now, Stevie is rolling out a an all-new channel system that serves up a much more bigger choice of social TV channels, based around a user’s interests and favorite Facebook Pages.
Stevie leans back and moves forward
Thus far, Stevie has enabled its users to watch six separate preset channels, each displaying content from friends in key categories. For example, they displayed the latest posts from friends, photos and videos, music-shared, celebrity updates, among other content. Now, however, Stevie has rolled out a whole new channel set-up that adopts a more ‘limitless’ ethos.
Indeed, Stevie has added more than 450 new channels covering everything from Rock Music, Jokesters and Hipsters, to News, Art & Fashion.
So, while the content has always been served up based on something they (or their friends) liked or followed, now users can choose from much more content based around different categories created by Stevie.
All of the channels are based on popular Facebook Pages, Twitter and YouTube accounts, letting users watch all the video content, photos and updates from those pages. It’s worth noting here that Facebook Connect is still mandatory to use the service, and it would be nice if it would offer Twitter as an alternative.
However, Stevie is transforming into a very interesting social TV proposition, and for those who like to sit and watch TV without really knowing what they want to view, it’s a great offering. And it offers a fresh take on second-screening by, well, removing the need for a second screen. You can read what others are saying about a show or clip alongside it.
The new channels can be accessed from a new home-page/EPG, with Stevie pulling in elements from social dashboards and other aggregators. You can actually see the full online guide here, available through the Web version for the time-being. It’s not available in the mobile apps yet (coming soon), so you’ll need to access the Web-based version from your mobile browser, but it will open the relevant content in the native app.
Simply hit ‘More Channels’, and you’ll see a slew of fresh viewing options.
Interestingly, Stevie also now lets users watch any Facebook Page (one that has video content) as a channel, simply by pasting that Page’s vanity URL (after the /slash) into their browser. So, for example, if you wanted to watch video content from The Next Web’s Facebook Page on Stevie, you would just append the mystevie.com URL with TheNextWeb, the same goes for the NBA, Ellen TV and everything else.
Stevie was founded back in October 2011, off the back of a $600,000 seed round from investors including Jeff Pulver, Gigi Levy and Internet Media Group. It’s currently available via the Web, iPhone, iPad and Windows 8, with Android and the previously-announced Xbox version coming soon, along with a version for Samsung Smart TV. Indeed, with the launch of TV-centric apps, Stevie may find itself a key component in many livingrooms.
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock
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