Miro: Free Television

miro-logo.png

TV. We all watch it. Chances are you might have a DVR hooked up to your TV so you can watch it at any time. If you pay for cable or satellite access, you are probably getting a little tired of those bills as well.

If you're into the 'net, get rid of those bills and get Miro. Miro, while not a service that provides live TV, is an application that enables you to download and watch videos on demand from major TV networks, RSS feeds, and even YouTube and Dailymotion.

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Installation is the standard procedure of installing the package or downloading the installer for your OS. When you first boot it, you are given some sample "channels" to view. Each channel is basically a subscription to a specific service for videos. To get a video, just open one of the channels and click on one of the available videos. It will instantly begin downloading to your hard drive. By default, Miro sets a date for movies to automatically be deleted to save space, but also gives an option to keep videos as long as you want them.

Adding new channels is also very easy. Integrated into the player is a guide which contains thousands of channels to subscribe to. If that isn't enough, you can find a RSS feed from a podcast and have Miro subscribe to that. If you like a specific search keyword on a video site like YouTube, you can add that as a channel to automatically get new videos. Once you add a channel, Miro will start to download the most recent videos to watch later. All in all it is pretty easy to use.

For example, if I wanted to subscribe to one of the vidcasts Joel describes on YouMakeMedia, such as "Totally Rad Show," I can just search for it in the guide and click on Add. Videos instantly begin downloading.

That's not to say everything is peachy. For starters, being a multimedia application, one would think it is more keyboard or remote friendly for TV usage. Most of the actions, however, require the use of the mouse.

Another shortcoming is the fact that you can't watch videos until they are 100% complete using the built-in player. If you navigate to the folder where Miro stores videos, nine out of ten times you can simply open the file and watch it in another movie player even if it is still downloading. So when you want to download some videos, leave Miro open, and go grab a snack.

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That reminds me of another strangely absent feature. Miro lets you throttle BitTorrent upload connections to help keep your connection low, but... what ever happened to limiting download speeds? If you are on a 768kbps connection like myself, you will find other web-based applications rendered almost unusable until Miro is done downloading. It seems like such a simple feature, yet it is missing completely.

Overall, Miro is a nice alternative for on-demand video, if you redefine the word on-demand to "slightly delayed" while your video downloads. It is dead simple to use and has nice big buttons for easy clicking around. It seems to be slightly lacking in the UI and download areas, but the latter is probably not an issue for those of you with faster connections. Cross-platform availability is definitely a plus. Definitely recommended for download.

Get Miro

Avatar for jacob Jacob Peddicord - http://jacob.peddicord.net/

Jacob is a web developer, student, and programmer from Ohio. He is a staff member at the Ubuntu Forums and is most likely a fanboy of the distribution. He loves to write in code and words, play video games, and rant about topics most would have abandoned long ago. Jacob uses GNOME and is never seen running stable software, much to the demise of his laptop.

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Discussion: Miro: Free Television

  1. Joel (guest)

    # Posted on 17 January 2008 at 07:37 PM

    How well does it run in Linux for you? It's crazy slow when switching between channels and, well, everything else other than playing the videos. Every button click takes several seconds for a response.

    That said, I don't think I could live without it, now. I've been using Miro for a couple months and even when the WGA strike is resolved I'll probably watch shows on it more than on broadcast TV.



  2. Jacob (guest)

    # Posted on 17 January 2008 at 07:53 PM

    Joel:

    Miro runs pretty fast over here. The reason for it running slow on your machine is probably because the main UI/guide seems to use Gecko (xul/firefox) to draw everything. I'm not seeing any lag issues here at all. It could be because I have libxul (Firefox 3) installed here and it is using that, which is considerably faster than using the Firefox 2 backend in most situations. I could be wrong though.



  3. # Posted on 17 January 2008 at 08:18 PM

    [...] the free, open-source video and TV player, reviewed on FOSSWire. It’s the way I watch all my favorite video podcasts. I highly recommend it. [...]



  4. Joel (guest)

    # Posted on 17 January 2008 at 08:19 PM

    Awww, makes sense.

    One day I may actually have to upgrade this machine.



  5. Diego (guest)

    # Posted on 18 January 2008 at 05:24 AM

    Gecko is not the same that XUL. Gecko is the web engine. It is really light becouse it is made to work on small devices. XUL is the really really sucking-resource-wasting UI of any Mozilla app. and Miro.



  6. peter jones (guest)

    # Posted on 18 January 2008 at 07:21 PM

    wow, I think this is the future, internet t.v. staions . like revision three, and JOOSt.com , i found a blog with the top internet t,v stations, http://www.opentopix.com/topic/tech-news/miro-the-completly-free-internet-tv-network



  7. # Posted on 19 January 2008 at 03:17 AM

    <strong>Story added...</strong>

    Your story has been submitted to fsdaily.com! Come and promote your article by voting for it here on FSDaily! Let your readers know they can vote for your story too....



  8. BobCFC (guest)

    # Posted on 20 January 2008 at 10:35 AM

    I use miro for all my podcasts, both video and audio.

    To get thumbnails working on Ubuntu I had to install libxine. Otherwise it wasn't playing some formats. Works great now.

    Make sure you tell it not to delete old stuff after 30days!

    May I recommend:

    LugRadio Open Season (FOSS discussion from The Register) FLOSS Weekly Linux Reality The Linux Link Tech Show lottalinuxlinks



  9. Jamey (guest)

    # Posted on 31 January 2008 at 06:15 AM

    Miro is a really interesting app to watch as one of the better designed gui podcast type clients I've seen. I'm not using it yet but keep watching as it accrues features, debating making the leap. Currently I just use Podracer for straight podcasts (cli based podcast client, cron it) and Azureus for rss torrents.

    I wonder though if you've seen TED, the Torrent Episode Downloader, which can be found at http://www.ted.nu/ - Simlar features to Miro but distinctly different in that it's largely focused on television torrents. Unfortunately until there's a headless version it's not too useful for me, though I've tinkered with it to great effect on my desktop. There's enough feature overlap that I think people that are interested in Miro may also be interested in TED, but enough distinct features that people may end up running both.



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