GigaOM scored a nice Christmas scoop with first-ever screenshots of the much-hyped Venice Project. The screenshots of the P2P streaming video service and the accompanying mini-review reveal a fairly polished beta of a project that could potentially do for cable TV what Skype has done for long distance; i.e., create a whole lot of smoke among pundits and tech journalists and just enough fire among users to suggest that the “disruptive technology” buzzword, though premature, may not be completely inapt.
Skype’s founders place a premium on usability, and Malik reports that this value is apparent in the Venice Project’s installation and overall interface design. The screenshots show a pleasant-enough interface that lets users customize their content selection via “channels” and features a number of social options that are sure to be fleshed out in the future. The service’s live TV offerings are allegedly clear and hiccup-free, but they’re currently pretty sparse, which is why Venice’s founders are aggressively courting Hollywood for content.