SAN FRANCISCO (06/30/2000) - There's no shortage of video on the Web, but finding video that you want can be a hassle. Excite@home Inc. wants to help, with its new subscribers-only service, Excite ClickVideo.
The channel aggregates content from video sites, and presents them through what is described as "a hip, virtual VJ" named Bailey. Each day of the week, the animated character reviews a short clip, which you can click to watch.
Bailey may lack the delivery and pithiness of Roger Ebert, but her appearance is at least less alarming than Gene Shalit's. And, judging from the first Bailey review I watched, her taste may be better than both critics. She hyped a short from IFilm.com called The Extra, and she was right in directing traffic to this winning flick. The film was a very funny mockumentary on the lives of actors who portray wedding guests, picnickers, and kite flyers.
Getting around the video channel is a snap, thanks to a clean, yet content-filled interface that makes my broadband provider's page look anemic.
You can edit ClickVideo, by choosing from which sites you'd like to see selections when you access the main page. Selections come from content providers as varied as Bloomberg On-Air Reports, Atom Films, and the House of Blues. ClickVideo also offers a keyword search feature for times when you don't see what you're looking for.
Within the ClickVideo Channel, there are 10 subsections, ranging from short films (loads of content), to archived clips from current programming (mostly The Daily Show episodes) and classic television (read: Mighty Mouse). The video for each clip is delivered at a 320x240-pixel window size.
I'd like to see the top selection updated more frequently, but that's a minor complaint. Excite@Home's 1.5 million subscribers are well served by ClickVideo, a helpful and well-designed offering for those trying to sort through the avalanche of broadband video. Unfortunately, the company says there are no plans to roll out service for non-subscribers.