Ali’s Mental Meanderings

wandering, not lost

Miro

Last night I did some further reading on Miro which I became aware of a couple of weeks ago. Miro is an open video player that utilises the VLC media player and also features an array of internet channels with all free content and an inbuilt bittorrent client. It also enables you to download and save videos from YouTube, Google Video and seven other sources. Before it was renamed to Miro in mid-2007 it was called Democracy Player and DTV.

This application initially interested me as I often get video’s in my rss feeds that I do want to watch but not always at the exact moment I have the item open. It’s untidy and inconvenient to have several pop-out windows loading at once and sometimes the environment isn’t conducive to watching videos. Previously I’ve also found watching videos from browser windows to be laggy and sometimes they fail to load entirely.

What particularly impressed me about Miro is the ability to download videos only when I want to see them, but also that the downloaded videos can be set with an expiry after which they’re automatically deleted to free system resources. I like to watch BoingBoingTV and VLog ‘episodes’ but don’t need to retain them after viewing. The channel searching and browsing is novel but I don’t foresee that I’ll use that feature often. Searching and downloading clips from YouTube to watch later is useful and searching is quick and quite accurate. The ability to limit bandwidth used by Miro is good and there are plenty of options regarding how often you’d like new videos in the channels you’ve added to be downloaded and managed.

Miro did crash a number of times while downloading videos however after restarting, the application instantly picked up where it left off. Given that Miro 1.1 was released a mere 10 days ago, a couple of initial crashes can be forgiven. It has been running quite stable since.

Extra kudos must be given for having installers with simple clear instructions for Linux, Windows and Mac systems. Within the Linux installation page, Ubuntu had it’s own guide with instructions for installation on either of the three latest Ubuntu releases.

In summary I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far of Miro. For me it is a great way to store and keep short videos for later viewing. I don’t plan to use Miro for large file and playlist management but according to the website it’s more than capable of doing that. Have an explore, it’s refreshing to find such a great application that solves a long-standing niggling problem.

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January 21, 2008 - Posted by | Miro, open source software, review

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