11 November, 2007

Miro and Internet TV options

I have used iTunes for years to listen to my favorite music and podcasts; since the early betas of Joost, I've been able to see some good TV, such as National Geographic, but I still had to search all over the Internet to get a good selection of shows. For example, I would go to CBS for CSI, AOL for a few good reruns, and Disney when my kids were over to see their Saturday morning favorites. And of course there's always YouTube.

Recently I heard about a new Internet TV interface that would solve all these problems, and it's open-source -- Miro. I downloaded and tried Miro over the weekend. Miro has an interface that is familiar -- it feels a lot like iTunes, but at version 0.9.9.9.1, it's still buggy. I quickly learned that Miro's primary feeds are the same RSS feeds used for podcasts and videocasts.

I took a few of my podcast feeds from iTunes, tried them on Miro, and they worked. Likewise, I took some of the Miro feeds and they worked with iTunes. So I thought, "what benefit is there to Miro when I can do this all in iTunes?" None. I can load these through iTunes and have them portable, which Miro cannot do. Also with Miro, because they are RSS feeds, I have to download the entire show before I can view -- with Joost and other streaming solutions, you can begin to view almost immediately.

Perhaps I am being a little hard on Miro; it does offer an easy search across all the major video sharing sites such as YouTube, Revver, and Blip.tv -- that's nice. It also has a nice guide of video feeds and you can download files over BitTorrent, but I still did not find it had much new to offer.

In addition, I looked at Joost again (I've been traveling, and haven't had much time for TV). Well Joost has up'd the ante. Now I can see my favorite CSI shows, late night CBS comedy, and a better interface for browsing and storing my favorites.

So while Miro is trying to offer us an alternative Internet TV option, they are a long way away from matching what I can do with iTunes and the growth of Joost. For folks such as myself that only have broadcast TV, I'm still waiting for the break-through, integrated solution that includes on-demand sports and movies in addition to the legal, free television.

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