In an ideal world, every video, movie and TV show you ever wanted to
watch would be available for download direct from the source and you
could watch it where ever you pleased. But as long as that world
remains a fantasy, Miro 1.0 may well be your best alternative.
Miro is essentially an online video browser, aggregator and player.
Find content you like, turn it into a channel in Miro and the software
will monitor RSS feeds, alerting you whenever new videos are posted.
Once they download via the built in BitTorrent client, watch the videos
right inside the Miro player. Pretty much like you imagine internet TV
should be. The software is free, cross-platform and open-source.
On Tuesday morning, Miro released version 1.0 of its client. The
release comes after a long period of beta testing during which the app
has gained a cult following. If you’ve been using the recent preview
releases, you'll know what to expect, but if you haven’t checked out
Miro since it changed its name from Democracy Player, there’s a bunch
of new stuff to discover.
As part of the release, Miro has put a nice list of features, inspired by and somewhat similar to the one Apple released for Leopard.
For a full review of Miro, check out our earlier write up, but here’s run down of some new and often overlooked features:
Video Format Support — Miro claims it can play
just about anything, MPEG, Quicktime, AVI, H.264, Divx, Windows Media,
Flash Video, and more. I've yet to encounter a file that didn't play in
Video Playlists and Watched Folders — We raved about this feature
last time and nothing has changed. Even if you aren’t grabbing all your
video content through Miro, just tell the app where you’re storing it
and it’ll show up in your playlists regardless of where you got it.
BitTorrent and RSS support — Miro can download
individual BitTorrent files and torrents that are in feeds and you can
subscribe to any video RSS feed you like. There’s even a setting to
auto-download new videos whenever they show up in a subscribed feed.
Saved Search Channels — like smart folders
essentially. If you search for a something specific across sites and
you like the results, you can add it as a channel and new videos will
appear that meet the saved search criteria.
Social site integration — Got a video you like
and want to tell the world? Every video in Miro has quick links to post
to Digg, Reddit, del.icio.us, and Video Bomb.
Miro 1.0 also takes a bold stand against main competitor Joost. The
revamped front door of the site has a huge banner reading "Better Than
In terms of interface and functionality, Miro has Joost beat (unless you're really big on chatting while you watch videos). However, Joost has a slight edge when it comes to exclusive content.
Of course the value of Joost's exclusive content is open to debate
as it depends entirely on individual taste. Perhaps as a step toward
the aforementioned utopia, someone will figure out a way to get Joost's
content into Miro's interface, but as far as I can tell that’s not
possible at the moment.
Still, when it comes to searching, finding and actually watching video, Miro is head and shoulders above Joost.