Two approaches to Internet TV: Miro and Joost

No question in my mind that Internet TV (Internet Protocol Television or IPTV) is how many of us will be watching video and film within a couple of years vs. over rabbit ears, through a satellite dish or signals coming through a cable. Thousands or millions of channels are possible with the Internet and you’ll be able to watch whatever you want whenever it’s convenient.

I decided today to download Miro and give it a try since Leo Laporte blogged about it and that his new show (which I’ve never seen) The Lab with Leo Laporte was up on Miro in an HD version and Leo was puzzled over how they’d obtained his show in HD.

There are so many approaches to delivering video and I’m not going to touch on the obvious YouTube, Revver, Kyte or other deliverer’s of visual media. Instead, I’m going to briefly discuss Miro and the buzz king, Joost, though my jury is still out on rendering a verdict on either one of them and I’d encourage you to try them out for yourself.

Miro (formerly Democracy Player) is an iTunes-like media player that uses Bittorrent as its primary download method. You sign up for a channel (similar to subscribing to a podcast in iTunes) and your chosen videos begin to download. Once downloaded, you can do whatever you’d like to with the shows including dumping them to your video iPod or iPhone — though this would be manual if you’re not willing to create an Applescript with Automator to ensure that any downloaded videos are automagically placed into iTunes (which, in my opinion, 98% of people will NOT do!).

The Miro interface is clean and it took zero time to figure out how everything worked — which you’ll find is the case if you have ever used iTunes. My only concern was its dependence on Bittorrent. No matter what, Bittorrent works but is inherently unreliable being dependent upon how many people are concurrently downloading. This misses the whole point of immediate access to millions of channels: I want it NOW.

Joost is fast and shows start almost immediately. Its interface is difficult to figure out at first, but is quickly mastered. I found the video quality poor, selections limited though more global in scope, and had to run it on my Macbook Pro since I’ve not yet upgraded my MacPro tower to an Intel-based machine (Joost only runs on Intel Mac’s).

I absolutely love the “Share Joost with a friend”, Joost Links feature since it’s possible to send people an exact moment in a video (though Viddler has that too in a web browser and doesn’t require anyone to have special proprietary software).

Miro is open source. Joost is closed. That alone swings my support to Miro, but so far they haven’t executed well on a marketing front since no one seems to know about them! Whichever way you go — or if you simply keep watching your videos in a web browser — one thing is certain: you’ll be doing a lot of your future TV watching on computing devices with content delivered over the ‘net.

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1 Comment

  1. John Eckman on October 3, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    It isn’t just that Miro is open source – Miro is brought to you by the Participatory Culture Foundation and supports truly independent media.

    Check out the create tab at GetMiro.com – http://www.getmiro.com/create/ – or http://makeinternettv.org/ and try to find the equivalent for Joost. So much for participation culture. 😉

    (Miro also runs on Linux, which Joost does not).

    I agree with you about marketing – Miro’s fairly well known among open source folks, but not much outside the community, unfortunately – good to see folks discovering it!



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