David Byrne sang about burning down the house and now it’s time for burning down the TV thanks to Miro, the open source video player.
Think TIVO for web, but without buying any hardware or software (sorry AppleTV). Think millions of programs packaged as pre-programmed channels, or search the web and make a channel with the video you like — Grateful Dead TV? TED Presentations? Knitting for Dachshunds? You got it. Finally, think open source and open format — Miro plays MPEG, Quicktime, AVI, H.264, Divx, Windows Media, Flash Video, and almost every other major video format. And those are only some of Miro’s features and specs.
But don’t take my word, go and download it (free, fast, stable for PC, Mac, Linux) and you’ll see why Miro vision for the future of web video is so compelling. Want to hack it? Download the source code too. Want to program and brand your own channel? Miro converts any media RSS feed into a channel you can put your name on. Once you search the web for the content you want, Miro displays an iTunes like listing with program details and links to download, save, organize, or share the video.
Where did Miro come from? It’s the core project of the Participatory Culture Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit based in Worcester, MA and founded in 2005 with a mission to build tools and services that give people more ways to engage in their culture.
Television is the most popular medium in our culture. But broadcast and cable TV has always been controlled by a small number of big corporations. We believe that the internet provides an opportunity to open television in ways that have never been possible before. Miro is designed to eliminate gatekeepers. Viewers can connect to any video provider that they want. This frees creators to use the video hosting setup that works best for them– whether they choose to self-publish or use a service. It’s the kind of openness that the internet allows and that we should all demand.
Lastly, special shout outs to Jen Simmons of Milkweed Media Design who talked up Miro in her presentation on web video at last weekend’s Wordcamp in New York, to Bill Sobel of NY:MIEG and to Bob Sokol at Sun who promoted and hosted the event.