Moziy: Your Own Online Video Channel

It seems so quaint to remember the days before YouTube. How on earth did we fill our time? The Google-owned video clip phenomenon has all but monopolized the business of online entertainment, and one billion of us now use the service every month. But I, for one, wish that YouTube was a bit less about flicking through clips of cats doing random things, and a bit more like watching a TV channel filled with quality programming.

This avenue of thinking was clearly the catalyst behind the making of Moziy. This brand new service, still in invite beta, turns YouTube and Vimeo channels into streams, and mixes them up to create a personalized, full-screen, video-watching experience. Additionally, Moziy provides its own video watchers’ network, creating something far more social than YouTube has ever been.

But is Moziy‘s video stream-based system really worth ditching the browsability of YouTube for? And is it a real improvement on Vimeo’s Couch Mode? Let’s find out…

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A Personal Mix

The very first thing Moziy gets you to do is follow some streams. This is a bit like being asked to follow a few folks as a new Twitter user, but in the case of Moziy, you are adding streams of YouTube and Vimeo videos to your own personal stream – an online TV channel, if you like.

The initial selection of streams is, at present, somewhat beta-ish; it feels like Moziy has thrown together some options, just so there’s something there. That said, The Onion, The New York Times, National Geographic and Red Bull are all present. The relative lack of initial choice is an issue, however, given that the current version of Moziy doesn’t really have much by way of a search or discovery option.

Moziy initially asks you to follow some streams

Moziy initially asks you to follow some streams

It would be harsh to expect an invite beta to be a polished product, but there is definite room for improvement here.

Stream to the World

In addition to following channels, you can follow other Moziy users, and the streams they set up. This is, perhaps, where Moziy’s strength lies. It really feels like there is the genuine opportunity here for video-watchers to become curators, creating their own channels of videos for others to watch. To encourage this concept further, Moziy provides each stream with a unique, vanity URL.

If you fancy yourself as a broadcaster, there are two ways of adding videos to your stream on Moziy. The easier way is to hit the Restream button while you are watching a video – yes, Twitter users, that is like a video retweet. The other way involves adding content from YouTube and Vimeo manually, by pasting in a video’s URL.

My stream on Moziy

My stream on Moziy

The Video-Watching Experience

The Moziy social concept would be nothing without Moziy’s video player. Log in to Moziy, and you are immediately thrust into a browser-window-filling stream of videos, with most of the controls being hidden away.

Moziy's video player

Moziy’s video player

This is possible, in part, thanks to the assignment of your keyboard’s direction keys to the video controls; Up toggles full-screen video, Down toggles play/pause, and Right allows you to skip the current, time-wasting video. The brilliance of this system is that it lets you forget you’re using a computer, and it feels like the experience Apple TV should provide. There is no need to browse, no need to scan down lists of options, and no need to click your mouse endlessly – just straight-to-the-point entertainment, personalized to your taste.

Displayed in a bar below the videos on Moziy are just a few, on-screen controls. There’s the opportunity to Tweet or Like (Facebook) the current video, a permalink for sharing the video on other networks, and Moziy’s own social controls – Favourite and Restream. Finally, on the far right-hand side is the name of the stream that is currently playing. Click this, and you can view the stream’s bio, follow the stream (if you’re not already doing so), and view the stream’s follower count.

THe bio of the National Geographic stream

THe bio of the National Geographic stream

In the top right of the screen, at all times, is a discreet Moziy logo, which, when hovered over, provides access to your account controls.

The only negative in Moziy’s interface I can pinpoint is advertising. Moziy’s video player works by putting an invisible layer over the top of YouTube or Vimeo videos, and, as a result, you can’t get rid of YouTube’s pop-up adverts, nor can you switch off captions. Just occasionally, you miss some key action because it’s hidden behind a pesky pop-up, but most of the time, it doesn’t adversely affect your video-watching.

Pesky YouTube adverts are inescapable

Pesky YouTube adverts are inescapable

The overall feel, then, is one very much focused on the content, and Moziy attempts to get everything else out of the way – everything within its control, that is.

Conclusion

Moziy is a service which is irrationally enjoyable. There is virtually nothing here that either YouTube or Vimeo doesn’t provide at some level; both of these video giants have a system for following users and channels, and both have a form of couch mode.

But it’s Moziy‘s stripped-out system that makes it so appealing. You won’t find video descriptions, comments or a rewind button in Moziy, but I can do without that stuff when I’m watching engrossing National Geographic content, or laughing along to The Onion’s spoof news reports.

I mustn’t go over the top here; there are currently some significant issues with Moziy. The lack of search function is debilitating, and the inability to get rid of YouTube’s adverts is a noticeable, if minor, annoyance.

Overall, though, I hope Moziy can overcome these issues, because I feel that it has serious potential to change the way we watch online videos for the better.


Summary

A fine video network, currently let down by its content. Great potential, though.

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  • Thanks for the review Mark! We’re making steady progress on improving our content and experience while in private beta. That ads issue should be fixed shortly as well. Cheers!

    Will
    Cofounder
    moziy.com/will