HP offers free Internet-video application for download

Most of us know HP as a computer company. Still fewer of us know it as an enterprise services company. But now, the world’s largest PC maker seems to be trying out the consumer Internet market as well.

In a surprising move, HP has launched a video-watching tool that can be downloaded and installed on Windows computers free of charge.

The software, when installed, pulls in videos from the Internet (from sites like Youtube?) and keeps playing them on the computer — converting the computer into a sort of Internet TV.

Unlike websites like Youtube.com, you don’t have to sit next to the computer to keep choosing one video after the other or type search words every now and then. Just give it a few keywords, like ‘bollywood’ or ‘rahman hits’ and the program will search out the videos from the Internet and play them on full-screen mode, one after the other, endlessly.

In other words, if you are ever bored and in the mood to catch some TV, you can simply switch on the computer and leave the TV remote aside.

The move is as surprising as it is novel. HP is not known as a consumer software or Internet brand at all. Nearly all of its money comes from making PCs and making software for big companies and helping them run their IT systems.

““We are piloting the personalized video application to understand user preferences and also receive feedback for future enhancements,” says Sudhir Dixit, Director of HP Labs India, which designed the product.

HP seems to believe that because of India’s lack of English proficiency, especially in the rural market, the PC as a means to communicate and collaborate in English may not be the only way to go forward.

“We believe that video will dominate the Internet in India,” he adds.

Like Youtube, HP seems to smell some future profits behind the venture too.

“The application also allows for the creation of a special channel that can be used by third parties to push video content to a user based on viewing habits and location. For example, movie studios can push trailers of upcoming movies in a particular location or businesses can push product videos to users based on their viewing habits,” it points out.

The application can be downloaded from here