Tuesday, December 26, 2006

SofaTube: YouTube for your Wii & PS3 (N)

SofaTube is a new offering via Red Kawa that aims to be the solution for viewing YouTube and Revver videos on your Nintendo Wii or Sony Playstation 3. Both consoles give you the ability to surf the web (something I really wish the 360 had). With this new found venue for online video comes some added obstacles.

Imagine this, you've got your beautiful TV in front of you and you are surfing the web via your console. You choose to view some videos on YouTube and you are met with a small screen where you can barely read the font and it is hard to get a good view of the video. Tune in to SofaTube for salvation. They provide videos off of YouTube and Revver in nice sizes for your TVs and have nice big fonts for your reading pleasure. SofaTube allows you to search for your favorite video, view videos by username, or look at featured videos.

Another major feature that I really like of SofaTube's is the Advanced Entrance. Before going to the actual video site SofaTube allows you to either jump straight into the videos or select the Advanced Entrance. You really should be using this feature if you are using SofaTube. You can select between HTML or Flash, select between YouTube and Revver, and select a video viewing preference. The big plus, however, is that you can pick a screen resolution for your TV. You can choose between:

NTSC/WVGA 480i/480p (720x480, 854x480)
HDTV 720p (1280x720)
HDTV 1080i/1080p (1920x1080)

The SofaTube has some major positives and the most obvious one is that it allows you to view videos through you Wii and PS3. However, it does have some negatives which could be its shortcoming.

First off, if you are looking for SofaTube to be a replacement for YouTube or Revver then you'll be disappointed. You cannot look at all the videos and it doesn't give you all the benefits that the actual websites do. There aren't any elements of social networking involved nor is it easy to move around the videos using the Wiimote or PS3 six axis. Using the search and user features can be a big pain while using the consoles because most people don't have keyboards hooked up to their consoles. This makes typing in letters a nuisance. Also, the featured section of SofaTube is a jumbled mess (as shown in the pic below) where you have to shift through a pile to find a certain video which makes it ever the more harder using a controller (though the Wiimote does help).

Overall, SofaTube is great for watching a few videos on your TV, but it isn't ideal for prolonged usage nor is it good for a replacement of YouTube or Revver. If you are just trying to show some people a great video then this could be a great solution for you and I hope that SofaTube can work out some issues to make it an even better service.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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