I want to walk into a room, start streaming my favorite YouTube video on my iPhone, click a “sync” button and have the video immediately played on the big screen TV in the room. That way, I can share the video with my friends and we don’t have to crowd around a 2 inch screen while a huge LED TV sits idly by. I would also love it if I could open up the stream and people could join, and then we could each queue up a video playlist that accumulates on the big screen. Would you like a feature like that? We explore it in the second entry in our ongoing “Imagine” series.
For me, social is about sharing and it’s something that is still clunky when it comes to video. We can share by email, but the idea of sharing something together at a party or event is near impossible. Without some way to show a big bunch of friends a cool video, we’re resigned to showing a few people on a small screen with quiet audio (or none, if you’re in a crowded room). I’d love to be able to just amplify the energy of a party by queuing up a few Auto-tune Remix videos.
So how would the thing feel to the user? When watching a YouTube video on your iPhone, you just click a ‘Send to TV’ button when a compatible TV is in range, and the TV loads up Youtube with that same video. The TV then displays who’s “connected” to the TV in a little box to the right of the video, and the open playlist below allows those connected users to queue up videos as well. Ideally, there’s also a veto ability for connected users, when a video is on, if a majority of users veto the video, the video is skipped.
Those would be the basic features necessary to facilitate a cool video sharing experience, but there are other things that you could do. Even though I just railed against putting badges into a game unnecessarily, I think that location-based badges could be something fun. If I have shared videos on TVs across the country, I wouldn’t mind having a little badge beside my username that says I have earned the “Cross-Country Video Partier” award, or something like that. You could also do something where the users in a room could ‘vote’ on the currently playing video and that user gets points, so each user could see who is the best at choosing YouTube videos.
Talking about technology, with today’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology, this would not be a difficult technological feat to accomplish. The TV, of course, has to be compatible, and until everyone is using Google TV or Apple TV, that may not be a reality. We’ll see if this kind of video sharing experience takes off in years to come, but for now, it remains in the realm of imagination.