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Introducing Couch Mode... get comfy!

Ryan Hefner
October 26, 2010 by Ryan Hefner Alum

Hey Everybody!

We know that you already like Vimeo, but what about couches? TVs? Wouldn't it be great to watch Vimeo from your couch... on your TV!? We thought so too, and today we are happy to announce the launch of Couch Mode. Couch Mode is a special new section of Vimeo that allows you to watch collections of videos (such as Staff Picks, your inbox, your videos, etc.) completely uninterrupted like a TV channel. Just press play and grab the popcorn.

That's not all. You can still do many of things you already do on the site today: like clips, add them to your Watch Later playlist, and get more information about videos and other users. We're extremely excited about the potential!

Couch Mode is optimized for Google TV and will be available in the Spotlight section soon. Don't have a Google TV? No worries, Couch Mode will work on your desktop too. However, we use a lot of HTML5 and CSS3 technology for this (no Flash!), so at the moment it will only work on Chrome and Safari.

You can navigate around using either the mouse or the keyboard via arrow and return keys. Hitting escape at anytime will bring you back to the currently playing video and clear any overlays. Of course, we also recommend hooking your computer up to the biggest screen you can find!

Let us know what you think!

286 Comments

Kevin Sweeney Staff

That is, until we change it forever, again, no takesies-backsies, times infinity, plus one ;)

Ale Corsini

You got a point, Lianna.

But I'm sure Vimeo knows that its added-value lies as much in its awesome content (i.e. the videos themselves) created by its users as in its awesome user-created channels and groups that actually bring order in that, otherwise chaotically heterogeneous (concerning genre), video-mass. A categorization function that is fundamental in orienting users towards the sub-communities they are more interested in (e.g. videoart, animation, CGI, fiction and so on), allowing them to find like-minded people to exchange views with and get feedback from. Which is eventually the reason why we love Vimeo and what makes it stand out in the crowd.

I'm sure Vimeo recognizes that user-created channels and groups are the heart of its lively community and of its offer, so I'm confidently looking forward to seeing this awesome new function work for all user-created channels and groups!

Hassan Saddiq

Hey vimeo staff

I just joined a few canon t2i groups, will I be able to watch the videos on those channels consecutively without having to click each video or is this new couchmode thing only for the staff channel?

thanks

Ryan Hefner Staff

Hey hassan,

We are exploring ways of incorporating all channels, groups and more into Couch Mode, but for now it is limited to just the HD Channel and Staff Picks.

We'll post an update once Channel and Group navigation support have been added.

Thanks,
Ryan

Stijn Swinnen Plus

I got to say i just love the staff picks and hd channel. It's one of my favorite lists on vimeo and i nearly watch and like every single video. The selection is perfect as there is a lot of variation and of course: quality. Keep it up!

Brindefalk

Really like it! Been using the hubnut before and it´s kind a limiting.

recreation

Was about to ask the same question :)

recreation

And in Safari? =)
Love the idea of couch mode.. the name is perfect btw :D

Kevin Sweeney Staff

To my knowledge, Safari doesn't have native support for full-screen, but there are a few plug-ins out there which I haven't tried. YMMV!

Charlotte Leouzon

this is going to be VERY helpful for my new website ! great idea! thanks VIMEO... and congratulations for all what you do for our community !

NM

How to use CouchMode for specific channel? For example want to watch videos from The Good Stuff

Thanks,

Kevin Sweeney Staff

Hi NM,
At the moment, the only channels supported are Staff Picks and HD. We will be rolling out more sections in the future and will keep this request in mind!

The Film Artist PRO

NM has put alot effort into both the Good Stuff Group and channel and that would be great Kevin! We have alot of interest in our worldhd channel aswell :)

Brown

Looking forward to seeing it for Channels.
Especially 'Video Painting'

Eric Buist Plus

I am so pumped for this, I might just leave it on all day while I do other work!

Remyyy Plus

Crazy, as usual !!! Always one step ahead

Spike

Time to dust down the mac mini and hook this up. Nice to see you pushing it forward, again.

Patrick Duncan

What about releasing the HD channel and Staff Picks as podcasts we can subscribe to in iTunes. That would be freaking awesome all the vimeo files that I download and reincode in iTunes for my appleTV look awesome on my 40" LCD with surround sound amp turned up.

Please? A podcast to subscribe to?

Mike Griggs

will the new iOS/itunes airplay feature mean we could use the ipad to initialise couch mode on the apple tv?

Benjamin Lupton

+1 for the itunes podcast for staff picks! That would be the bomb, as buffering multiple videos takes forever - would be nicer just to have them download in the background automatically and then I can watch them when ready - rather than loading it up when I'm ready, waiting 30 minutes, no longer ready, get in the mood again, watch it, then okay next one, wait wait wait, get ready, watch it, repeat.

wreckandsalvage PRO

This is awesome.
Request1: Share options for Twit, Tumbl, Twatter, Titter, etc
2: Channel Couch mode (mentioned above, 2nded)

This is how I plan to spend my lunch hour for the foreseeable future. Thanks dawgs. -AQ

Stephen Lewis

Is the Roku Vimeo channel going to morph into this UI?

Andrew Pile Staff

Probably not, Roku is limited in it's UI options (not that that's a bad thing).

Derio Ilari

This is great, but would need to be a little more fluid, not how to explain it, but making a comparison, it should be more like an ipad. Another detail to fix is that would be good to have like a home page, so you do not feel as empty, it's just a feeling.
I hope Couch Mode continues to evolve, and create a new way to watch videos.

Thank you for the new things that you bring us!

David

Only criticism is that it doesn't work in IE9!

lalan7 Plus

Pretty nice , i real like HTML5 but i can't find the share icon...

Kevin Sweeney Staff

We are working on how to deal with sharing. The biggest question that is raised by such a feature is whether the URL will go to the original clip page on Vimeo, or if it links directly into the CouchMode experience (which isn't supported by all browsers at the moment). There's pros and cons on both sides, but we are looking into it.

Motorz Plus

What a great idea... endless viewing of the best of the best!

Mark Schoneveld

Hey guys - nice work on this! Looks hot. One question: does it have the ability to permalink to playlists/channels/like-streams? I would love to send people a link to my "Likes on Couch Mode". Hell, I'd like to bookmark that myself for watching at home...

Ryan Hefner Staff

Hey Mark,

Yeah, we want that as well! We are going to continue to evolve Couch Mode and that is definitely on the list of things to include.

We'll post some more updates as new features are added.

Thanks,
Ryan

Decatur Dan Plus

Permalink option to specific users/channels would be awesome

Ryan Hefner Staff

Hey Dan,

Yeah, we think so as well. We'll post an update once that has been added.

Thanks,
Ryan

Karlo X Ramos/KX0101 Plus

nice work! so this means a step forward to android compatibility/official app

Also wondering if we can get vimeo on the xbox too ala netflix somehow using the watch later list. thanks!

David Charry Plus

Dude! This has insane amounts of potential. Way to revolutionize!
Look forward to trying it out

Álex Montoya PRO

Ain't there a plug-in to watch Vimeo through a Blu-Ray player or a media player such as WD LIVE HD?

Metroccolis

That looks REALLY cool!
Just make the controls panel disappear more quickly. It's staying for way too long.

Besides that: GREAT!

And now, please make your album player widget a HTML thingy! Thanks! :)

FAMOS

Fantastic evolution! Long live internet to TV. The dream is finally upon us.

Jeremy Hosking

Great suff, thanks very much for this - yet another way Vimeo stays true to its mission.

Eugenia Loli Plus

Ok, I like it overall, but in contrast to everyone replying around here, I actually own a Google TV device (the new Sony BD player). So, there are issues with it that get in the way. My bug report:

1. There is no Search function. This makes the app losing half its appeal right away.

2. It's very obvious that you developed this application at a PC monitor at work, rather than actually testing it on a real living room setup: you don't take overscan into account!!! This makes your "sign in" at the top, and arrow button at the bottom to NOT be visible in many TVs! You have to give a bit more room around your UI.

3. Now, you're probably thinking, "put your darn TV into native/dot-by-dot mode, so there is no overscan". The problem is: a. The majority of TVs don't support dot-by-dot, and b. When a new video is loading automatically, Vimeo goes OUT of its dot-by-dot mode! This can be either your fault, or GoogleTV's, I can't tell. Bottomline is, even if we have a dot-by-dot mode and we enable it, after a new video starts playing, we're losing that mode because the resolution changes somehow! I checked the videos I was playing while testing this problem, and they were all 720p, so I really don't understand why the resolution must change at all and force my TV out of its native scan mode (my GoogleTV is set to 1080p btw in its settings).

4. When I click on the timeline, I DON'T want the video to restart playing from the beginning. If I click on the place in the timeline where it hasn't buffered yet, do NOTHING. If I click on the blue part of the timeline, which is the part that was already played, then just go to that point in time. Right now, no matter what I do, it starts playing from the beginning, and it's very annoying.

5. On the Description view, when I click the big PLAY button, while the video is already playing, it should just get me to the playing screen. NOT restart the video from the beginning! Take clues from Apple's iPod UI. When a song is already playing and you re-click it, it doesn't start from the beginning. It's what makes the iPod a better experience to other players.

6. Another clue that you didn't test this in a real living room TV setup, is the fact that your description text is IMPOSSIBLE to read on my Pioneer 1080p 50" plasma TV (a TV with one of the deepest blacks ever created), from just 2 meters away, and set in dot-by-dot (which is slightly crispier). Even with my glasses on, I had trouble reading that text. It's really at the border of what's readable by normal people on a TV. The text is a tiny bit too small...

I liked everything else.

Kevin Sweeney Staff

Hi Eugenia,
Thank you for your constructive criticism. To address a few of your points:

1. We are working on search.

2. This was developed on Macs and tested on a Google TV unit that is hooked up to one of our TVs. We tried to maintain a padding of 5-10%, so if you have any screenshots/photos of anything that is clipping, that will be helpful to us.

3. Could you explain this dot-by-dot mode you are experiencing? We realize that there are a lot of devices that are going to have to support this, so the more information you can provide to us about your setup, the better!

4, 5, and 6. I agree with you 100%. These are bugs that we are already looking into.

Eugenia Loli Plus

Thank you for the reply Kevin.

2. I currently have the BD hooked to the Pioneer, which only "misses" half the buttons in its default overscan mode, but my Vizio TV in my office has a lot more overscan, so it almost misses the whole of these buttons. I think you need to bring the whole UI about 50px more inwards (on a 1080p display that is).

3. "Native" or "dot-by-dot" is a feature of the more expensive TVs where you can tell the TV to behave like a PC monitor, so there is no overscan at all. Without this mode, TVs resize the picture, and you lose a bit of crispiness. Legacy is what drives TV manufacturers to still create flat panel TVs with overscan.

So, my TV is one of these that has this PC mode, where there is no overscan, so you get the best quality possible, without any resizing/softness. But in order for the TV to "stay put" at that mode, the resolution must not change in the video feeding device (in this case, GoogleTV). The problem is, with your web app, every time a new video starts to load up, the resolution changes for half a second or so, for some reason. The TV detects that, and forces itself out of the native PC mode. The CURIOUS thing about this is that all the videos I tested the problem with were all 720p, so there should not have been a change in the resolution while a new video was loading! But there is! Either Vimeo's code, or GoogleTV's code, or the fact that these are 720p videos and my GoogleTV is set to 1080p. I don't know who does the wrong thing here, all I know is that while a new video starts to load, there's a small resolution disruption, and this kicks my TV out of its native mode, adding overscan again.

Thank you again for the reply. I'm glad to see that the rest of the problems will get fixed.

Eugenia Loli Plus

I'm afraid what it needs to be done for the native mode to stick, is for Vimeo to "ask" googleTV what's its set TV resolution (in my case 1080p), and then feed googletv resized 1080p videos, even if these videos are 720p or smaller in reality. If googleTV displays these videos upscaled to 1080p, then the resolution shouldn't change, and the TV's native mode would stay put. Upscaling video is possible with Flash, but not sure if it's also technically possible with HTML5 though.

Alternatively, GoogleTV should do the upscaling to the set resolution automatically. But so far this doesn't seem to be its feature.

Janita Serdain

To Eugenia - forgive my british, but U know advance and can not find staff. I read lot on iPhone, Android, Google TV and many apps include big TV that now say they go back to Flash and wrong to stop 3 party Flash, now back with even HTML5 devices, because can default disable videos. Do you no Eugenia?

Eugenia Loli Plus

Janita, sorry, but your British makes no English sense. I have no idea what you're talking about.

Btw, Kevin, thank you for fixing the text size. It's now readable.

Eugenia Loli Plus

I'm not American either, but I certainly try to write in a way that's readable. What Janita was writing was simply not comprehensible. It's not about being intolerant, it's about truthfully not being able to make sense of what she was writing.

As for that "article" you mentioned, what is "cloned Flash" anyway?

Haakon Sundbø

This was i weird experience on th iPad. Didnt work and was really buggy. Cool to see what can be done with HTML5 though. Keep up the good work!

Ryan Hefner Staff

Hey Haakon,

Yeah, right now Couch Mode is not optimized for the iPad or iPhone. The real goal of Couch Mode, in its current state, is for playing this through your TV or large computer display.

With that said, we are exploring ways on making this viewing mode available via touch interfaces, but for now the keyboard and mouse will have to do.

Thanks,
Ryan

Lucas Plus

I am giddy for the possibilities. I don't tell you this nearly enough, Vimeo, but I love you.

Paul Zink

Wonderful. Firefox is in the works i presume>

PAVZO

Great, Great, Great !!!

Siebe Janssen

I was just thinking about this yesterday and whoop! there it is! Thanks guys!!

Three things though..

1. where's the fullscreenmode button? I have a 27" imac, i don't need a tv.. Ok, in chrome there is a fullscreen mode, but you could integrate that in html 5 right?

2. where's the volume control? I want to be able to play my own music and set vimeo as "wallpaper" in the background.. That would be cool!!

3. maybe add a shuffle function, so you don't have to watch for example your "likes" in the same order everytime?

4. When I watch this on Safari on my macbook pro, the image stutters.. But that's maybe because it's kinda old and can't handle the HD format.. Also it crashed chrome, I'm sure it will be better of course when it's out of beta stadium..

However this is pretty much what I was hoping for!

Andrew Pile Staff

1. Use Chrome, it has fullscreen (F11).

2. It's designed to work on a TV, so you should use your device's volume

3. How old is the MacBook?

Siebe Janssen

ow thanks, I just downloaded chrome for fullscreen mode :)

I don't have a tv, it would be cool if you could watch it on for example an imac 27" and play some spotify tracks on the same imac.. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would be really pleased to be able to do this.

My macbook pro's is a 2.16 Ghz Core Duo. My imac plays Vimeo HD without any problems however, although I haven't tested couch mode on it yet.

Keep up the good work!

Girish Khatiwada

NOW, that's what i am talking about. I am glad i became a plus member.

Even Quach Plus

Awesome! Works great with touch screen tablets. Nice big buttons which makes it easy for small touch screen netbooks / tablet. I'm surprised it runs much smoother than viewing videos via normal site on my Asus T91-MT powered with a 1.3ghz atom.

Inofaith

Great stuff!

Now if only my apple remote would connect directly to safari...

Kiyany PRO

lovely .. could u guys bring it to iPad as well as apple tv with apple remote ?

awesome ..

Inofaith

Erm... I'm missing one major thing: how do I comment on a video / go to the video page?

I mean... after watching a bunch of video's you're bound to stumble upon something interesting you want to "love" and comment on.

Kevin Sweeney Staff

Please understand that the primary context of this feature is watching videos 4m+ away on a screen of limited resolution. Because of this, we have to be extremely selective of what features go in to avoid cluttering the UI.

You can always access these videos by liking them, going to your likes list on the main site and commenting on them from there.

Inofaith

Yes I realise that.

But I was pointing on the hassle of having to 'like' or 'watch later' a video > then going to vimeo again > clicking your likes/watchlater and then opening the video twice.
Just a "take me to video" in the Info pane that would open in a new Tab would be nice.

But I understand if you want to keep people in the whole UI and never leave it, EVER :P

Kevin Sweeney Staff

Sorry if I misunderstood. A link to the video which opens a new tab is a strong possibility!

Ryan Hefner Staff

In fact Inofaith, it has been done. The next time you go into Couch Mode, you should notice the the clip title is now a link to the clip page on Vimeo, which opens in a new window.

Inofaith

Ahhh perfect guys, you're the best! :)

I was trying to click on the video title in the info page before.

Marc Haumann

I'm sure you guys get this all the time, but for those of us on Macs or iOS it really would be great if you made the default typeface Helvetica site-wide. It's especially glaring in this new feature, which is otherwise beautiful!

Ryan Hefner Staff

Hey Marc,

Consider it done, at least for Couch Mode anyways.

Thanks,
Ryan

Marc Haumann

thanks Ryan it looks great!!

One other little nit-picky thing I noticed is that the vertex of those "watch later" clock hands could use a little cleaning up (again, especially glaring when you hit the button and the huge icon flashes)...

Ben Smithett Plus

font-family: sans-serif;

Mac gets Helvetica, Windows gets Arial, I don't get the Helvetica on Windows trainwreck!

Ryan Sullivan

This is going to be the reason I switch from Firefox to Chrome. Been meaning to for so long, but I've just been lazy.

This is just the motivation I needed. Hello Music Video Heaven.

David

Now I need a bigger dl plan... :P

Joep

Hi anyone,

My notebook is connected to my TV using HDMI cable. Does this eliminate the need for a dedicated GoogleTV box? IE what is the major difference?

Matt Schwarz Staff

Couchmode works as a web app, so you can run it without a Google TV. It's really up to you whether or not you need one :)

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