Killer iPhone App: Veveo’s vTap brings video from all over the web to the iPhone

BY Jason

Published 10 Sep 2007

iPhone Applications

Apple announced today that they had sold the millionth iPhone. So on that occasion let me introduce to you guys a killer iPhone application.

OM Malik wrote about it couple of weeks back which had got me very interested; it is the vTap service from Veveo which promises to make it possible to watch video from all over the web to the iPhone and was officially launched today.

Interestingly even though it took Apple only 74 days to hit the millionth mark as opposed to almost 2 years to sell the millionth iPod; a lot has already happened in a very short time. We had the controversial price drops and phasing out of one of the models; we have seen a ton of iPhone hacks, application and games from the iPhone hacking and development community. And it is safe to assume that with the iPhone users growing the hectic pace of activity on the hacking and the development front will only continue.

Now getting back to the subject of this post; one of the coolest application Apple announced for the iPhone was YouTube so that users could enjoy YouTube’s originally-created content on their iPhones. However, for it to work on the iPhone; YouTube had to encode their videos in the advanced H.264 format, thus limiting the number of videos that can be watched on the iPhone. As of the day of announcement only 10,000 or more videos were to be available with YouTube adding more each week.

So there is that likelihood of being frustrated that the video you would like to watch on your iPhone is not available in the advanced H.264 format. Veveo, an Andover, Mass.-based startup is looking to solve exactly this problem with its vTap application for the iPhone.

So how does it work?

With vTap’s character-based incremental search, users begin receiving search results instantly, the moment they type the first character. The results are then refined as more characters are entered enabling users to find what they want without entering full keywords or phrases from constrained keypads. vTap also offers intuitive browsing support and dynamic clustering with hierarchical organization of search results for an effective browse experience.

For example: imagine trying to search for web videos of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger using a typical cell phone keypad. The user would have to type in 40 keystrokes of the keyword just to get "Arnold Schwarzenegger". With vTap just typing “SCH” delivers a folder containing web clips related to Mr. Schwarzenegger. By browsing into the folder, the user can select the specific web clip they want to view.

By combining search and browse rather than treating them separately, vTap creates an incredibly intuitive method for discovering web videos. To ensure that users of the vTap service have access to the most current, timely, relevant web videos including long-tail content at their fingertips, Veveo maintains a comprehensive index of online web videos that is continually updated. 

The interesting bit is when you click on a video you would like to watch, the servers transcode the videos from the original format (be it Flash, WM, Real etc.) to the format that the iPhone can play. The only downside here is due to the transcoding; there will be a larger latency and will not be the same as true streaming.

But I am sure as an iPhone user, you won’t mind the latency rather than not being able to watch the latest video on the internet. As I am still to get hold of the iPhone (as it is yet to be launched in Europe) I did take the test drive of vTap using the browser and was quite impressed; the search was quite accurate & responsive and I was able to play videos from various sources like YouTube, DailyMotion and Metacafe.

Veveo’s vTap service will definitely be one of the iPhone applications that will be favorites list when I get my hands on the iPhone.

Other than the iPhone, vTap service is also available for Microsoft Windows Mobile phone users.

To check out vTap; simply point your iPhone’s Safari browser to and do share your experience in the comments.

Screenshot of the vTap User interface below: