Now, a Mac Version of Zinc Video Browser from ZeeVee
Boxee, the popular Internet video browser program for Macintosh computers, has some new competition. Today Littleton, MA-based ZeeVee is releasing the Mac version of its Zinc video browser, which gives owners of desktop or laptop computers an easy-to-use interface for locating and watching TV programming on the Internet.
The free software, downloadable at www.zeevee.com/zinc, is an offshoot of ZeeVee’s original line of video appliances, which made it possible to “localcast” a video signal from a PC to a high-definition television over the same coaxial cables used to transmit cable TV signals. The “ZvBox” never really took off (I found it too complex and buggy, and ZeeVee CEO Vic Odryna later said he agreed with me). But one part of the ZvBox setup—the “Zviewer” onscreen software—proved very popular with users. ZeeVee made Zviewer into a standalone Windows program last November, and changed its name to Zinc in March.
And now the program is available to Apple devotees—or at least those running Leopard (OS X 10.5) on Intel-based Macs. “The Mac community is very important to us, especially since they tend to be very media savvy,” Odryna said in a statement released today. “The response to Zinc, both in the U.S. and globally, has been outstanding and we can only imagine how much more popular it will become once Mac enthusiasts experience it, use it and share it with their friends.”
At the same time, ZeeVee has added a new feature to both the Windows and Mac versions of Zinc that potentially makes it far more useful. In the past, Zinc users have effectively been limited to the selection of online video providers that ZeeVee featured on the browser’s main screen—about 20 sources such as Netflix, Hulu, Fox, ABC, CNN, ESPN, and Revision3. But with the newest version of Zinc, users can subscribe to any video published on the Internet, as long as it has a standard RSS feed.
In other words, Zinc has become the video equivalent of a news aggregator, complete with a feature showing which feeds have newly published videos. A new “More Content” button on the main Zinc screen lets users access an introductory list of video RSS sources—including, for example, the “MIT Media Labcast,” a series of videos about projects at the MIT Media Lab.
“Until now, ZeeVee decided what content to include in Zinc, and performed all of the organization and presentation of that content,” Odryna said in today’s release. “Content owners and users can now expand Zinc at will.”
ZeeVee still sells a version of the ZvBox, by the way. But when it comes to hardware, the company’s emphasis has shifted to selling boxes that commercial establishments like hotels, hospitals, and airports can use to transmit HDTV signals from PCs to networked televisions.