ZeeVee is a company that offers offers an overpriced $499 set top box that you can stick next to
So I was pretty excited to take Zviewer for a spin. But after playing around with it for a few minutes, the excitement has dissipated. First of all, the software is really designed for users with HDTV displays. The menu text is really too small to read on a standard definition TV. I know that the digital cutoff is coming soon, but would it have been that tough to let users toggle between high resolution and lower resolution modes?
Second, the Zviewer browser is basically a frontend for Firefox 3.0.3. That's good, in that it means any web video you can play in Firefox you can also play with Zviewer. But it also means that once you find the program you're looking for using the custom Zviewer interface, you click play and a version of Firefox opens up. If you have a $130 ZvRemote control that's designed to let you navigate the web pages without a keyboard and mouse, you're golden. If you have a standard media center remote control, things might be a bit more complicated.
Zviewer certainly shows promise. The software has the potential to turn your computer and television set into an easy to use video on demand terminal that's reliable enough for you to cancel your cable or satellite subscription. But today it's still just a bit too awkward to use unless you shell out the cash for ZeeVee's custom hardware.
Zviewer is free while in beta and is available for Windows only. A Mac version is expected soon.