The ease with which computers can be hooked up to a HDTV has seen many people doing just that - whether it be to enjoy media stored on a PC or to surf the web while kicking back on the couch. Doing the latter can often be less than ideal, however, with input devices that can be difficult to use while reclining and browsers that have been designed specifically for up close and personal use on a computer screen. Last year Hillcrest Labs released its Loop pointer to tackle the first problem, and have now unveiled the Kylo web browser to address the second.

Unlike other widgets or applications that act as a “walled garden” of Internet content, Kylo billed as is a true TV web browser that is specifically designed to allow users to go where they want on the Internet. To facilitate more comfortable viewing from a distance on a TV the browser bumps up font, cursor and onscreen target sizes and maximizes viewing space by eliminating unnecessary toolbars, tabs, buttons and indicators.

“No matter how hard they try, no single set-top-box manufacturer, specialized TV widget developer, or content aggregator can match the volume of online viewing choices available on a computer,” said Dan Simpkins, founder and CEO of Hillcrest Labs. “For this reason, many consumers are simply using their new HDTVs as an alternative display for their PCs or Macs. So, we’ve developed Kylo as a free and simple TV browser that enables them to visit any site on the Web, and makes the entire experience more enjoyable.”

Key features of the Kylo Web Browser for TV include:

  • the ability to visit any site on the Web;
  • an onscreen keyboard that appears when there is a need to enter text, eliminating the need for a physical keyboard; compatibility with any physical keyboard for users who prefer to use one;
  • Fonts, cursor, and onscreen targets are larger than those in traditional browsers;
  • easy zooming and panning;
  • the maximization of useful viewing space by hiding or removing toolbars, tabs, buttons and indicators;
  • works with any mouse, but ideal for use with an in-air mouse such as the Loop pointer;
  • easy bookmarking;
  • a directory of links to dozens of popular Web sites;
  • a Mozilla-based design, and
  • free, easy download and setup
  • Unfortunately, like Boxee before it, Hulu has managed to block the Kylo browser. This is even though Kylo is standards compliant and was working with Hulu up to the launch of the browser. Hillcrest Labs is currently working on a solution.

    The Kylo browser is available as a free download for both Mac and Windows PCs.