As Google TV continues its rollout, several top websites are hurrying to ensure that their content looks great on the device. And just like YouTube's Leanback, Vimeo has now unveiled its own Google-TV-friendly interface, called "couch mode.”
Couch Mode is designed for Google TV users, users of home theater PC's, and really any laptop user who watches a lot of video to be able to simply plop down on the couch and browse some video without the distractions of a standard user-interface. It's not exclusively for Google TV. Just like Leanback, it's an interface that can be used by anyone, even if you're sitting at a workplace desktop machine.
Check it out by going to vimeo.com/couchmode, or just clicking here—one huge caveat… you'll need to be using a webkit browser, like Chrome or Safari, to be able to use it. Firefox and Explorer are not yet supported… bummer.
I grabbed some screenshots in case you don't have Chrome or Safari installed on your machine. When you first go to the Couch Mode page, the first video starts playing automatically. It appears there are two sets of playlists: HD Channel, and Staff Picks. It's not clear how they choose the first video. Hover over the screen and you'll see the stripped down controls pop up, and they look like this:
You have basic video controls, such as "pause," and you can also skip ahead or back one video. Clicking the bottom arrow button brings up the video playlist, along with the option to change to another list. It looks like this:
So, basically… this is Vimeo's version of Leanback. The two are incredibly similar in name, function, and UI. However, that's not necessarily a knock. I happen to really like Leanback, and the ability to view Vimeo content in the same quick-and-easy format is fantastic.
Still not sold? Why not check out the video that Vimeo made to talk about Couch Mode's features:
I think we can expect similar "alternative interfaces" from nearly every major video portal in the coming months. Even if they don't care about Google TV, the industry still largely follows the leaders… and the leaders obviously see a lot of value in creating "no frills" video-viewing experiences for their viewers.