Bringing the Beauty of Channel Surfing to Digital Media

October 15, 2015

1:15 pm

How many times have you sat down to watch Netflix only to realize you’ve been stricken with a case of choice paralysis? This phenomenon is directly due to the sheer amount of options you have to choose from, and it makes it difficult to decide what to watch.

Evolving the broadcast television model is something that’s been on Ryan Andal’s mind for a long time now, ever since he founded DitchTV. He had choice paralysis, and he had it bad.

How do you get over something like choice paralysis though? For Andal, the answer was to build something that felt like real TV, only with better content and far less advertising. He began building a prototype of DitchTV, having already done work on a number of custom video players for past clients.

“We used YouTube content just to test out our ideas,” says Andal. “But what happened is that we actually started becoming fans of a lot of the content creators on YouTube that we never had time to seek out, and we started discovering more and more things we wanted to watch.”

What had started out as a fun prototype soon escalated into a powerful idea about how to make content discovery platforms like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu better. As Andal says, there’s no way to process and discover all of the aggregated content effectively.

“Each day, more content is uploaded to YouTube than any one person could view throughout his or her entire lifetime,” says Andal.

The current model YouTube and Netflix use to address the issue could be described as an editorial approach. As a result of indexing content though, users can be sometimes inundated with recommendation lists too exhausting to effectively browse.

Ultimately, this tedious selection process places undue pressure on users to make a commitment to content even before they start watching. Or, as Andal and his team are fond of saying, the beauty of channel surfing is lost.

“DitchTV is what we think YouTube would have been if it had evolved from broadcast TV,” says Andal. “When you land on the site, instead of looking at thumbnails and unhelpful descriptions, you’re directly immersed in content. We skip the boring intros so you can intuitively decide if want to surf or continue watching.”

DitchTV offers a novel, yet familiar solution to discovering great YouTube content. By combining the simple mechanics of ‘channel surfing’ with interactive controls and an intuitive interface, DitchTV enables organic discovery and a relaxed viewing experience.

It also aggregates YouTube channels and delivers content the way you might ordinarily watch TV. As a viewer, you can select from over 25 subject groupings like comedy, trending, or movies.

To help people get over their choice paralysis, Andal recently rolled out the DitchTV web app into beta and the iOS app in full.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America's Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he's off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing...or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach. Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988

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