October 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Cull TV Isn’t the First to Turn YouTube into ‘New Music Television,’ But It’s Pretty Neat

cull tv

Google’s generous policy towards its YouTube API (application programming interface) lets app developers build all kinds of neat music apps out of the music videos found there.

Most recently, we came across Cull TV at a recent NYC MusicTechnology meetup. It’s something like the 50th app we’ve seen to date that applies a filter to YouTube and calls it a new experience.

But Cull TV looks good, and perhaps more importantly, offers a nice slice of YouTube’s generous free music selection in a minimalist, full-screen interface that replaces all those menus on YouTube with simple controls your grandparents would appreciate: channel selection and fast-forward/rewind.

For example, you could tune out to this boob tube as you tune in to a channel consisting purely of musical performances and interviews at #OccupyWallStreet. Or maybe you’d rather watch stuff from MoogFest 2011, or a channel of videos for songs that came out that week.

It’s all there; you can also search for songs and create your own channels, as well as sharing any song or channel with your friends. You don’t have to sign in with Facebook, but if you do, your Facebook Likes help pre-populate your custom Cull TV channel. As always, switching to HD improves the sound quality of many of these YouTube videos.

So, how does Cull TV cull?

“There’s a lot at work under the hood,” explained Cull TV director of programming Jesse Reiner, who should know. “It’s a pretty complex blend of editorial programming, machine learning technology to serve up recommendations (via the Auto DJ), and crowdsourcing tools to spot trends.”

One thing we appreciate about music apps is that unlike MP3 players, you don’t have to choose only one. Cull TV fills a niche. When you just want to zonk out, “lean back” and let the internets do the work, you could do worse. There’s plenty missing from it (no “liking”? no mobile apps? and are those really all the channels?), but hey, it’s free, and nobody has a gun to your head.

Most importantly, we found some nice stuff to watch using Cull TV today, but ideally, something like this should really run on your television.

Last December, Google said it would launch an Android app store for TV in early 2011, and Apple said it might do the same, also in 2011. Here we are in mid-October, and we’ve heard nary a peep from either company about allowing third-party apps to run natively on set-top boxes, which would make apps like Cull TV really shine. Until then, there’s always Boxee.