Miro Public Preview review

A public preview version of Miro, an open source video player and aggregator is now available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platform thanks in part to it being based on Mozilla technologies.

Formerly known as Democracy Player, Miro is partially funded through a Mozilla Foundation grant and developed by the Participatory Culture Foundation.

It also embeds VLC, a powerful open source multimedia player which gives it strong audio and video formats support including ASF, Windows Media Video, MP4, QuickTime, FLAC, AVI, MPEG-2, Theora, DivX, Xvid and Matroska among others. This support however is not extensive. For example, Matroska files distinguish for its ability to embed multiple audio and subtitle tracks in a single container. However there’s no way to change audio track or select a subtitle so far which is just sad. I was really hoping for it to be a silver bullet for the mess Internet delivered video is, but according to a forum discussion it may not be available until after 1.0 release.

Central to Miro is the Miro Guide, a video browsing interface to iTunes, that presents a collection of Channels created by video publishers. In Miro, Channels are nothing but video podcasts: web feeds with media specific tags that allow Miro to get the actual video files.

Once you subscribe to a Channel, Miro will keep an eye on it and download new episodes as they become available or you can manually download past episodes. For each channel you can set if you want videos to expire after a certain amount of time and have them deleted to ease hard drive space management or if you want to stop downloading files automatically if you have too many unwatched already.

Search Channels are special type of channels consisting of saved searches in one of the bundled search engines (Revver, YouTube, Google Video, Blogdigger, blip.tv, Dailymotion and veoh Video Network). Once created, Miro will perform periodic searches for the entered key words and keep you up to date with the most recent results. Searches can be also be performed against subscribed channels or you can enter a custom URL.

Miro also acts as a BitTorrent client and can take control of .torrent files with some basic management options. A basic video library is also provided that includes channel contents and video files played locally but has no way to add a complete folder for example.

In general I find it a nice player and a better video aggregator that really helps stay tuned to the growing video content available on the web. Definitely recommended.

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