Thursday, September 13, 2007

Miro Miro on the wall...

...are you really the fairest of them all?

The explosion of free multi-media on the web opened up a vast oasis of anything and everything you want, when you want it, with a catch. Rather than a convenient one-stop shop filled with everything you need, it's more like my hometown of North Canton, sprawling with pre-fab strip malls at every turn of the head. A cornucopia of tiny stores and empty lots as shops come and go faster than the seasons change.

Driving around comparing lack luster services and sites. Sifting endlessly through the myriad of Youtubes and Streamicks to find good videos, or functioning streams. Bookmarking, subscribing, torrenting and organizing it all into a usable guide that isn't as hard to read as an AJAX manual is the internet's MO these days.

IPTV can be a harsh mistress. If you don't have a degree in Internetology with a prerequisite in(at least) SEO, it's very easy to just ping-pong between all the pay services popping up faster than a pan of Jiffy Pop. Finding enjoyable, consistent, and regularly availabe fare on popular video communities is your typical needle-in-a-haystack outing. Streaming video is just glitchy. Sites offer literally hundreds of channels and a whopping four of them actually work.

I dare say Internet "TV" has a ways to go.

Enter in Web 2.o's latest "phase". The name of the game is organization. We've seen the wave of new technologies and sites to bring us together, and make our lives more convenient, and fun. Now we need to organize it all.

Organizing all this video, floating around the internet, in different video formats, with multiple delivery methods hasn't been done effectively.

That's why Miro seems so attractive right now. They've made a good effort at creating that one-stop shop feel. Subscribe to "channels"(see RSS), and with a growing list currently at some 2,200 selections, there's already some good video content to give you that idiot-box feel. I found multiple, regularly updated videos from Discovery, National Geographic, Cartoon Network, CNN, as well as a plethora of original independent video to rot that muscle in your head, and a surprising amount of it is in HD. On top of that you have access to a handful of social video communities that you can search through, within the Miro Player. The player is bandwidth heavy and can be cumbersome and annoying for your slightly older PC or laptop. They seem to be missing a much needed streaming internet TV section to tap into the IPTV crowd(although it might not add any stars as the streams would likely still be sketchy). Oh, and did I mention it's Open-Source? Feel free to add your own videos.

Miro's enjoyable for an internet geek like myself, and makes an attempt at catering to the offline crowd with an intuitive enough channel guide. It's not as easy as the window in the middle of your living room, but it's about time you learn some of this thing called Internet?

As long as international laws remain the same or at least maintain a steady course, in the same direction, we should see an abundant supply of easy to access free video.

As for this geek, I'll never be paying for cable or satellite again. Sure I'll miss some of it, but it's a small price to pay for what I'll be getting in return. All I need is an adequately sized HDTV, a 500 Gig external hard drive, and a PC or laptop with a good video card hooked up to a wireless network.

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