Denso: Personalised Video Channels

As much as the iPad is touted as a great portable content creation device, it still makes a stellar video player. In fact, I watch more video content on my iPad than any other device, including my TV, and most of that comes from independent sources like YouTube channels and blogs.

Denso is a video consumption, discovery and organisation app, allowing you to watch content from more than 250 different sources from around the web, all in one place. With Denso, you can subscribe to channels of content to be watched back in a continuous, auto-playing playlist and even downloaded to be watched later. Read on to see just how good it is!

Channelling Content

Denso is all about the discovering and organising of video content from across the web, and it does this by putting your subscriptions into different channels of content. Imagine Denso like a TV, where you can switch on a comedy channel, a sports channel, etc. When you subscribe to a video source, its associated channel is added to your Denso homescreen allowing you to easily open it up and start watching with just a few taps.

Just as the sports channel on TV won’t only show content from a single show, Denso aggregates the content from multiple sources into a single channel. This means I could subscribe to The Next Web, TechCrunch TV and Engadget (to name a random few available in Denso) and all of them would be shown under the Tech channel, not individually. I think this is a great approach, allowing you to dive into a certain category of content without going scouting on each different website.

If, however, you only want to see content from a single source in a channel, you can open up the filter menu and select the source you want to exclusively view.

Viewing my personalised Tech channel in Denso

Viewing my personalised Tech channel in Denso.

As you can see in the screenshot above, Denso looks very similar to the stock YouTube app that ships with your iPad. Beneath the playing video are a number of buttons, each having a pretty useful function.

The first, Watch Later, gives you the option to actually download the video (when supported, since some services don’t allow this, such as YouTube) to be viewed later when you’re offline. Alternatively, you can just add it to the Watch Later channel on your Denso homescreen for speedy access to your chosen content. This is a very convenient feature if you want to queue up some content when you know you’re going to have a weak or nonexistent internet connection.

The second button you’ll notice is for commentary. Denso has its own comments system which allows you to voice your opinion on the video you watched much in the way any standard comments section does. However, should you be logged into a social network at the time, you can opt to post your comment on said network with a link to the video (albeit embedded in a Denso promotional page).

This is a fast and easy way to share videos that you’ve liked – or disliked – with friends and followers. If you don’t want to add any commentary, you can send out a link to the aforementioned video page in two taps through the share button.

Comments and sharing buttons in Denso.

By getting yourself a Denso account, subscriptions can be synchronised across your devices (iOS and Android) so you can stay up-to-date on whatever platform you choose.

Interface

Denso’s homescreen is reminiscent of the live tiles of Windows Phone 7, with each square dynamically showing thumbnails of content from that channel. I really like this design and it’s perhaps the strongest interface element of the entire app.

When you launch into a channel, you immediately notice how much Denso’s player looks like that of the stock YouTube app. The video starts playing in the top-left, accompanied on the right by the list of the videos in that channel, allowing you to quickly skip to one that interests you. Underneath the playing video are the watch later and social sharing buttons we mentioned before, as well as the video’s title and description.

The layout certainly works but I feel like the custom skin on the app looks a little mismatched in areas. I wish they had stuck with a look and feel much more similar to the YouTube app.

Denso Homescreen

The homescreen of Denso is very similar to Windows 8/Phone 7, and that's not a bad point.

Final Thoughts

The idea behind Denso is great. Having all your video subscriptions at the tip of your fingers is very convenient, but I really love the whole channel-centric design. As I said before, I don’t watch TV but I love how Denso mimics the experience by allowing you to just launch into a category of content.

I’m not too keen on the interface, but you’ll likely spend enough time with videos full-screen to not really notice it. I definitely recommend giving Denso a try.


Summary

Denso organises your video subscriptions while helping you discover new and interesting content providers.

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  • MacChap

    I’ve been on the lookout for the perfect video discover/consumption app. I’ve tried a lot of them and have yet to find one that fits my needs. I tried this one out and really liked the home screen with its tiles and the option of viewing your grouped by subject channels or the individual feeds.

    However, this app has the same deal breaker for me that many of them have, namely you cannot stream to AirPlay while the app is in the background. I like to stream videos to my Apple TV while surfing the web. You Tube allows you to that, but this app and many others do not. If you know of a good app that does, I’d love to hear about it!

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  • http://www.getdenso.com AJ @ Denso

    @Connor, thanks for the writeup and feedback!

    We just released version 2.0 last week with a bunch of improvements, including Google Reader & Tumblr account integration a bunch of language support and tons of performance improvements.

    @MacChap

    Thanks for the message– we actually didn’t think of this but we’ll certainly look into it! Follow us on twitter for product updates and we’ll let you know if we can build that into the App! @getdenso