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Kylo HTPC Browser

kylo

If you have struggled with browsers on your nice big 1080p television say goodbye to all of your troubles with the brand new Kylo browser made specifically for HTPCs, or so the developers would like you to believe. I will say that overall Kylo is one of the more user friendly and easy to use browsers out on the market today. Developer Hillcrest Labs has put a lot of thought and effort into crafting the Kylo browser around use on a HTPC. They have big buttons, a built in on screen keyboard, and built in zoom feature. In theory all of these thing should make a perfect browser for a HTPC, but after some issues I have a few issues with the browser.

Good Stuff:
So let’s first talk about all the good things about the Kylo browser. It is built off of Mozilla, which if Firefox has been any indication is a solid code base to work off of. The best thing about this browser to me is the ease to zoom in and out with ease. I am a big Opera browser user which made it easy to zoom in and out, but in Kylo it is right in your nav bar and allows you to have an extremely large range of zoom. This is a great feature as usually websites are tiny on a nice big television. Some other features that I really enjoyed was the on screen keyboard which is great if you don’t have a keyboard sitting around. This allows you to basically use the browser with just a mouse (or Loop Pointer). Lastly the browser is pretty easy on the eyes as it is a nice darker gray which is easy to look at for a long amount of time.

Alright Stuff:
There are some nice things about Kylo but just aren’t perfect. One cool feature is their “Kylo Connect” website. It is presented as a big button on the browser but once selected take you to an easy to navigate with large buttons of just about every single site with videos in it. Selecting one will take you directly the the “full episode” shortcut page, or a page that reduces the button clicks to get to the good stuff. However this page isn’t built into the browser itself, which means every time you launch it it has to load all the icons and overall is a bit slow on animations. Talking about speed I can definitely say this isn’t the fastest browser I have used. Pages load a bit slow compared to Chrome and at times I got a bit upset that it wasn’t loading faster. Lastly you get a nice area for bookmarks, but there is no speed dial feature like your standard browser, which is almost an essential for a HTPC browser.

Bad Stuff:
I already mentioned the speed of the browser, which wasn’t horrible but wasn’t great so I wont get into it again. One thing I really didn’t like and isn’t really Kylo’s fault is that Hulu has completely blocked the browser. I would most likely use Hulu Desktop, but it would be nice to have an in browser option. I also didn’t enjoy how tabs worked. Every time you go to a new site via bookmarks, Kylo Connect, or URL entry bar, all of your other pages are simply hidden from you even though you really wanted to open the page in the same window. Kylo requires you to select the current tabs area and manually close any tab you want. This is just confusing for no good reason. There is also no real way to manage plugins at all inside the browser (Flash 10.1 works just fine though).

Conclusion:
I would absolutely recommend giving the Kylo browser a try as I think it is one of the best HTPC browsers out there. There is a lot of room to improve, but the browser just came out and there are enough features here to outweigh the cons. If you can get over some speed issues I think you will enjoy this browser if you are trying to browse the web from the couch.

Kylo is available for free at http://www.kylo.tv

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