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After spending time with Boxee, I decided it was time to explore alternate options for streaming online video to my TV. The back-and-forth between Boxee and Hulu had started to get a little nuts – and ideally I’d like one place to go for all my content without worrying about it unexpectedly going away. In a perfect world, all content owners would offer an RSS feed for me to ingest content wherever I’d like it to go. If the bulk of the advertising lives within the video playback itself, video can freely travel – and the container itself shouldn’t make a big difference.
While trolling my Google reader late one night (as nerds like us are wont to do), I discovered the free, open source HD video player that quickly and easily serves up video streams. You can stream videos from sites like YouTube, Comedy Central, CBS, or Hulu (for now); and Miro will upscale to HD wherever it’s offered. The app offers full playback of content from within my media library too; making it a great one-stop for video playback. Very cool. Miro’s real strength though, appears to lie in the ability to host and organize multiple video feeds from a variety of sources.
The simple layout and navigation process resembles iTunes. A sidebar located on the left allows easy navigation of your content whether it be online or local. You can subscribe to RSS feeds and set them to automatically download new episodes as they become available- just like subscribing to a podcast in iTunes. You can even subscribe to a torrent, allowing you to keep all of your vids in one place (I chose a “Miro” directory under “Movies” to keep it clean). After Miro grabs your new episodes, you can easily port them to your device of choice.
The open-source nature of the program means that you can participate in the continual build to improve it. The website offers information for those who would like to write code, become a bug tester, or simply help others get started.
Miro 2.0 is currently free for Mac OSX and created by the non-profit Participatory Culture Foundation. It’s open source and licensed under the GPL (general public license), with the goal to decentralize online video by making it free and open.
Get it: http://www.getmiro.com
Read the blog: http://www.getmiro.com/blog