There are a lot of web browsers out there but only a handful of them ever make any real news. Kylo, on the other hand, has caught the attention of Media Center users everywhere by claiming to be the perfect web browser to use on “the big screen”. Though it seems this new product should be aimed squarely at the Windows Media Center crowd there is a catch, it doesn’t work with the standard MCE Remote. In fact the software is somewhat a thinly veiled guise at selling a piece of hardware (an air mouse). However, we’ll use our own wireless mouse to give Kylo a go and see how well it does integrate into a Media Center setup.
To get started let’s add Kylo to Media Center’s Start Menu by downloading Media Center Studio and the browser software. Install both then launch Media Center Studio. Inside MC Studio switch from the Themes to the Start Menu tab as well as the Start Menu menu bar. Select the Insert Application button then fill out the Title and Path of the Kylo install (typically C:\Program Files (x86)\Hillcrest Labs\Kylo\Kylo.exe on 64-bit systems, remove (x86) for 32-bit).
Once you’ve saved that return to the Start Menu tab and expand the entry points bar at the bottom left of the Media Center Studio program. Locate the entry point icon for the Kylo browser and drag it into the Extras menu strip. Once saved we should be able to launch the browser from inside Windows 7 Media Center (after re-launching 7MC if open).
Now we can launch the program from inside Media Center but we still have to grab our wireless mouse to actually use the browser. To be fair it’s made for an air mouse and still works incredibly well with the basic cordless optical mouse we’re using but it would be great if it had support for the basic four direction pad on the remote at least.
Aside from that this little browser is absolutely amazing. With over 100 of the internet’s most popular destinations listed right off the bat when you open it with large easy to click icons it’s incredibly easy to get start surfing the net with Kylo. First on the list, YouTube even sports a custom look though it seems to be the only one in the list that does. The custom YouTube interface makes it extremely easy to navigate on the big screen as well so hopefully there are more of those in store for the browser.
This being spring break it’s been extremely easy for even the children to use Kylo on the big screen, switching to Disney XD’s website on the big screen is so simple it’s almost ridiculous. Among the browser’s unique features, a simple interface for pan and zoom, on-screen keyboard and built-in multi-provider search are all presented alongside the browser standards like history and favorites without using up too much screen real-estate.
Pressing the address bar brings up both a half width on-screen keyboard and a short history of recently visited sites making returning to your favorite locations as simple as possible without having to pickup a keyboard. Bookmarks are listed as screenshots of the site along with the title listed below making them easy to click. The entire product is almost as easy to use as similar minimalist browsers like Google Chrome except super-sized for the big screen. Though, Kylo will let you know upon launch that it has been optimized for 720p screens if you run a resolution over that.
To get back to Media Center just click the power button in the bottom right hand side and Exit Kylo. The browser should close and we will be returned to Media Center.
Definitely a browser to check out for use on your Media Center setup though you’ll need to pickup a mouse to use it effectively. A solid product given that it’s free to download though it could still use some refining. For instance, what does the trophy in the corner do besides send me to Kylo’s website? Likely we’ll see advertisers in those spots in the future.