Internet TV and how watching Vimeo is a whole different experience with this!

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Ethics statement. I am not currently sponsored by Vimeo or affiliated with them. I just love the service! This may come across as a bit of blogvertorial but it isn’t!

Our attention spans have gotten pretty short – mine certainly has. Watch something at your laptop or desktop computer, and you end up having it in smaller windows whilst you multitask. Or most likely, if it doesn’t grab you within 20-30 seconds, you are onto something else or skimming it. Not fair on the filmmaker but it is a pretty standard thing to happen.

Now, how many times have you sat on your sofa flicking through dross on your TV but given it way longer than 20-30 seconds before switching over? I have lost many a half hour to stuff I would never plan to watch, simply because I am comfortable on my sofa and my boredom tolerance is a lot higher.

So if I have a spare half hour and am sitting on my sofa these days having a bite to eat or just chilling, do I turn on my Sky box and watch TV or do I actually watch something more useful with my time? Sure there are loads of films I can watch but I do not watch them in chunks. When I watch a movie, it’s an all in one thing. These days I watch stuff on Vimeo. On my large flat screen TV…and you know what? It’s about 100 times better watching something on my TV than on my laptop.

I get sent a lot of requests to watch stuff, and it’s tough finding the time. When I am at my computer, yes I could have it on whilst doing other stuff, but that’s not fair as I mentioned. It needs my undivided attention and when I’m at my computer getting my attention is hard. Emails popping in, tweets etc…yes full screen helps but it’s just never an enveloping feeling like when watching stuff on a TV.

My first internet TV was my Panasonic TV. It has Dailymotion and Youtube but not Vimeo. I looked at some stuff on Youtube but as many of you know, finding good stuff on there is hard. Then I got a new TV for my bedroom, a Samsung LED one and that had Youtube, BBC iPlayer but more importantly Vimeo. I linked up my Vimeo account to the TV and I could watch all my stuff on the TV, and also whenever someone sent me a link to watch when I was at my computer, I would click on “watch later” and it would go into that queue. Sitting at my TV, I can now click on “watch later” and I can catch up properly on stuff people have sent me. This for me was a revelation and from that moment on I loved internet TV.

Advantages of this are simple. It gets my more or less undivided attention (mobile phone can still ping!), big screen, I am comfortable, and everything looks better through internet TV, despite the blow-up to the much bigger screen. Computer screens are not flattering to video, as they are not optimised for it and are too bright. TV screens are of course optimised for video and suddenly everything looks so much better.

If you don’t have an internet TV or your TV doesn’t have Vimeo, there are many add on devices that give it. A Samsung internet Blu-ray player, a Roku box and now more recently Apple TV has something very useful in it: Vimeo. Although Apple TV is only 720p. Then again I am not actually sure what resolution my Samsung TV plays Vimeo at, am sure someone will tell me shortly.

Watching Vimeo on Apple TV at home

So in my lounge my Apple TV has been plugged in again and become a useful device again for me.

Even my parents have an internet TV (well I advised on its purchase), not that they are using it to watch Vimeo, but they have iPlayer on it and use it.

It’s clear this is the way we will be watching our content in the future. Not just through Vimeo but through Netflix, Lovefilm, iPlayer. TV and movies on demand. With internet TV we are able to create our own TV channels. Features wise it’s pretty basic. I would like to see more stuff added, easier access to channels, the ability to add shortcuts to channels, groups or users. Typing stuff on your remote is a pain so having more customisable options would be great.

Of course monetising internet TV like this is a lot trickier. But I expect banner adverts will be an option to be added onto them at some stage if we want, like Youtube does with its partner program, and of course if you have a feature then if you can get it onto iTunes (like my documentary Confluence should hopefully be soon) then there is a simple clear monetising method. But that of course needs Apple TV to watch on your TV!

In the meantime, use it like I do, to enjoy fantastic content that is online that frankly is a pain in the arse to watch on your laptop. Internet TV is the best thing to happen to Vimeo in a long time. If your TV hasn’t got it, get an add on device that lets you have internet TV! The only real downside is you need to go back to your computer to comment on something!



  1. I have been using Apple TV since the black version came out. PB is right, Vimeo delivers great on good quality displays (mine is a 46 Sony Bravia and the quality is stunning). I did recently notice though that with the recent Apple TV upgrade that enables “couch mode” that “couch mode” does not deliver the same resolution in playback as a non “couch mode” viewing. Not sure why this is. For now the best Vimeo playback results are with using the regular non couch mode Vimeo / Apple TV interface.

  2. Good post. Just got Apple TV at daughter’s urging and found Vimeo looks/sounds great on 46″ Samsung LED. As you said, Phil, no distractions.

    Good tip above about avoiding couch mode on Vimeo for TV viewing. Thanks, Ted!

  3. I can recommend the “Boxee Box” if you don’t have a media center built into your TV. It is like Apple TV, just better and with 1080p. They even provide a Safari “Watch Later” extension. Everytime I come across a nice web-video I will click “Watch Later” and can enjoy it on my TV on the evening without the web distractions. They have Vimeo, Youtube, etc, + Webbrowser build in.

  4. Wish my LG blu-ray internet player had Vimeo. Its only got Youtube and netflix, Kinda hoping for a firmware update one day. Got the PC linked to TV for now. That in itself is excellent for watching Vimeo, but a dedicated TV or box is a must! fully agree Philip, better with no computers while watching TV, full screen and sitting comfortably. Definately the way to go.

  5. As far as I know, all, or most satellite broadcasters in Europe and the US (including Sky) only broadcast a 720p signal. Perhaps Apple TV is following a similar trend as most people wouldn’t know about it and not really see the quality difference so why use up the extra bandwidth.

    Just a thought.

  6. All this is great until your ISP sends you a rude letter saying they are watching you because of “above average” bandwidth consumption and says you may have to “upgrade” to a “commercial” service agreement if you don’t stop.

      1. Yes, it’s capped, but the ISP won’t say publicly exactly what the cap is. In the letter I got a month after signing up for Netflix I was told I was over the “average” in peak use periods. I get my broadband via my small cable TV system operator here in semi-rural Central Pennsylvania. The cable operator contracts with PennTeleData who says

        “As a user, you must ensure that your activities do not improperly restrict, inhibit, or degrade any other user’s use of the service or PenTeleData’s ability to deliver and monitor the service, or our network resources and do not represent (in the sole judgment of PenTeleData) an unusually large burden on the network itself. Users found to be (in PenTeleData’s sole judgment) in violation of this policy may have their accounts terminated, suspended, or upgraded to a higher level of service, subject to the appropriate fees. PenTeleData will use reasonable efforts to notify a customer prior to service termination for excessive bandwidth use.”

        Of course we have a different legal and regulatory environment here in the States. I ended up dumping Netflix, but then I had seen all of Inspector Gently anyway.

      2. Hey Philip, can you tell us about the quality and price of your internet service? Like how much you pay a month and how many Mbps (Megabits per second)? I saw a great news segment recently that reports great prices and service in the UK and Europe and wanted to see if you agree. (

        It really sucks here in the US. It feels like we’re in the dark ages. I’m in NYC and pay $40 for 2.5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload so it’s hard to watch HD clips without it choking.

        For those of you who share my broadband woes please sign up for regular emails from and to educate and advocate for better internet service.

  7. “If you don’t have an internet TV or your TV doesn’t have Vimeo there are many add on devices that give it”

    ^Like just running a cable from your computer’s video out to a TV.?

    I had an internet TV and I found it pointless. Now I just have a laptop sat quietly under the couch or beside the TV and let it push video from the internet to a TV or projector. Get a wireless mouse if you still want remote control.

      1. “I also just found out if I connect my iPod to my amplifier via a cable I can hear it through my speakers rather than just headlines! Futuristic!”

        Nice one 🙂

      2. Well internet TV represents a loss of features rather than an addition to the feature-set, that was what I was getting at. That works for some people (as you say, less distractions can be a big benefit), what I mean is, that re-balanced feature-set won’t be as beneficial to everyone as it has been to you. Which is why I say “I found it pointless”, rather than “It’s pointless”. Describing my set-up wasn’t meant as a criticism of yours, it was a note for others reading this who may be thinking of other solutions.
        Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find one of those iPod cables, they sound ace. 😉

        1. But Internet tv is not supposed to have the same features as its website counterpart. It’s designed to be like a TV Channel all controlled through you tv remote. Taking content away from being stuck on your laptop and placed firmly in our lounges.

          1. Yeah, it fulfills a big set of needs, some people share only some sub-sets of those needs, for example; I just want internet content on a bigger screen specifically made for video, which as you say in the article makes a big difference to the experience compared to a PC monitor designed for folk doing spreadsheets. I just didn’t want to imagine someone reading this blog going out spending and many pounds on a shiny new internet TV when that was all they needed (when they could get away with only spending a few quid).
            Anyway, my line about the cable wasn’t meant to read as snarkily as I realise it does now I read it back, so apologies for that.

  8. Like you say it is that ‘watch later on the tele’ feature that makes it. Funny how sitting on a sofa makes reading and watching a screen so much nicer.

    Same with magazines… so much nicer to have them in paper form rather than online.

    Maybe you can bring your blog out in paper form Philip!!

  9. By the way, if you have an Android phone, you can control Youtube on your computer straight from your phone. I like that a lot better than messing around with a remote.

    That’s one advantage to Graeme’s suggestion (and it’s what I do).

  10. I’m the other way around – using computer to watch everything on my large 86″ screen (I have a projector.)

    Obviously this is more flexible as technology progresses – you just replace a ROM device and drivers, to accommodate new media. And frankly I hope new media will finally move towards solid state memory so optical devices won’t even be necessary.

    Anyway, Vimeo does not provide true streaming – you can’t jump to the middle of the video if you want to skip the beginning. You have to wait till it downloads enough to jump to that part.

    YouTube is better in the sense that it does provide proper streaming and indexing of the video, so you CAN skip ahead to any part of the video.

    Would you say this is different on Internet TV devices with Vimeo?

  11. I’m one of the odd ones out. I’ve had the original Apple TV for a few years and my young family use it several times a week for viewing our monthly family edited video compile, old but favourite cartoons on Youtube, monthly photo slideshows and now that original language movies are available (in English) in Germany, the occasional movie rental.
    Apple is going to miss Steve Jobs as CEO and so are we. He is simply a genius.

  12. Actually, I would advice anyone making videos to watch them on a big screen tv once in a while, instead of from computer screen. It really is a different experience. No Internet ready tv is needed but just a media player with the video files on them.

  13. I watch all my content via Apple Tv. Max res is 720p. I recieve Youtube,Netflix and Vimeo.

    Sometimes many of the video,s are out of sync audio/picture wise. Or lock up entirely.

    This could be an ISP problem, But in all honesty 720p looks pretty darn good on a 42 inch screen when everything is insync.

    THEN i was over a friends house and saw over the air free 1080 broadcasts from one of our local channels. AMAZING picture.

    Is it even possible to get true 1080 via either cable or dish in the USA @ this time? Or is everything really 720p?

  14. Great post, Phil. Ahead of the curve, as usual.

    I looked seriously at Apple TV, but sprang for Google TV via Logitech Revue when the price came down a few days ago.

    Now it’s the same price as Apple TV or Roku 2 XS, but it comes with a real keyboard, 1080p, the option to add a $149 720p camera for HD video conferencing and soon, access the Android Market.

    When the keyboard is out of reach, I pull out my Android phone and use it as a remote. Vimeo and YouTube lean-back modes look great on the old 42″ plasma. Highly recommended.



  15. Fully agree with the post. I also suggested to my blog readers to buy the Roku device in the US just for vimeo. I have since cancelled cable tv and I only watch vimeo and netflix. It’s more than enough if you are not in to sports. YouTube has even more good stuff than vimeo but finding them is near impossible. It seems that YouTube itself is trying to promote cheap skits and vblogs rather than art.

  16. If you don’t wanna shell out for a box, the iMediaShare app on iphone lets you stream all the big video sites from your iphone to your telly, in HD and it’s really damn good! and it’s free!

    Been watching a lot of kessler crane BTS and Bloom timelapses on my Bravia and they look WAAAAAY better than on a computer.

    1. Just tried iMediaShare app and it works great for both iPhone and Android. The iOS version had low rating but I think there must have been a bug it the first release because I had no problems at all. Android version got very high ratings on Android Market.

      Thanks for the tip

  17. The takeaway I get from all of this is the old saying that “TV is a lean back experience while the computer is a lean forward experience”, and as an early adopter who couldn’t resist connecting the TV and computer together, the one thing I kept yearning for was a software program that would somehow meld the two together, with a switchable interface, say perhaps an internet mode and a TV mode.

    Thus if I was parked on the couch I could surf channels the way I do with TV and if I wanted, I could get more engaged and instantly turn it into a more internet like experience, at will between either or both.

    So for me, where the media comes from isn’t as important as the ability to manage its display and style of delivery. I want more control, and the ability to seamlessly integrate the delivery methods.

    Does that make sense?

  18. Great post, I was just about to head in to the world of Apple TV. When I saw recently that they had added Vimeo that sold it even more!

    You can’t beat being able to view content on your home TV’s! There is so much good stuff on Vimeo in HD I can’t wait.

    Also had you used Airplay that allows you to stream content from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to your TV thru Apple TV? I love my video games too so I can’t wait to stream content to my big TV. I have a 60″ LG that needs more use and Apple TV will fit the bill nicely!

    I’ve posted a link to the Airplay feature …

  19. I went with an Apple TV. What I like is that I can put a video that I am working on into the iTunes folder and then use Apple TV with my plasma TV to view it. This saves burning a DVD for each version and at 720p it is much better quality. Viewing Vimeo on Apple TV is also a big plus.

    Still waiting for a better version of FCPX and an overwhelming reason to switch.

  20. Well we don’t get cable down here in little ole New Zealand and we only have 4 main television channels so as you can imagine it’s slim pickins for quality content … vimeo and apple TV on a plasma is the way to go and I don’t think I’ve actively watched regular television for the last 2 years.

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