Updated: June 5, 2009
Some of you may have heard of Miro before; it used to be known as the Democracy Player. For those who have not heard of Miro, it is a good-looking, versatile, modern multimedia application intended to open the taps of Internet media and stream music and videos onto users' desktops. Let's take a brief tour of Miro and see what it can do for us.
Miro is available for Linux, Windows and Mac. You can find Miro on the official site or download it through the repositories. In this article, you'll see only Linux screenshots, though. Screenshots from several machines, so please excuse the mishmash of themes and colors.
As you can see, Miro is referred to by many terms: it's an High-Definition (HD) Video Players, it's a Video RSS aggregator. The thing is, it's all of those.
The first time you run the application, you will go through a short setup wizard. It will ask you whether you want to enable Miro on startup and it will ask you for permission to look for media files on your machine and index them for quicker access later on.
Miro was rather quick in its indexing. It also scanned network shares for media files and listed those too.
It is obvious that Miro aims at the younger generations. Like Vuze, the Azureus heir, Miro sports a colorful, detail-rich interface, with quick access to important functions. Creating a free account will give you access to better search and some extra features, although you can manage just fine without one.
Miro allows you to watch samplings of free HD movies, subscribe to RSS feeds or watch content by genre, rating, popularity, age, or language.
In the sidebar, under Library, you will find your cataloged media items.
The simple player interface at the bottom allows you to control the content just like any other media player.
Video Search is probably the most important function. It's the core of any Internet TV player, in fact. Miro will look up a range of online sources for relevant information.
All items can be easily grabbed by clicking on the Download button. This makes Miro quite appealing, as it allows you to both browse the web for content, download clips in the background, and archive and save the interesting items while watching videos.
Be aware that you can easily fill up your hard disk as you tend to forget the space limitations when using Miro.
After the clips are downloaded, they will show under New in the Library. Color tags are used to distinguish different items.
If you stop the video while playing, Miro interface will switch back to the main view. The player will not reset the clip though; it will remember the timeline, so you can go back watching from the moment you paused/stopped the playback.
Another hard-disk eater are the HD podcasts. Innocent clips will easily take hundreds of MB, so you'll have to take into consideration your bandwidth and space restrictions. If you choose to set the Auto Download to On, Miro will continuously download the items you have subscribed to.
Global Pulse lets you feel involved in the doings of the world by wasting life reading news items of all sorts.
To keep away the legal wolves at bay, Miro also features Legal torrents, which you may want to use. In this regard, Miro and Vuze complement each other nicely.
You can also tweak Miro's options, cap the download/upload speed, forward ports, and more. The Preferences menu can be accessed by right-clicking on the tray icon or via the main interface.
If you dislike the concepts of interactive media, Web 2.0 and whatnot, you will probably find Miro inadequate for your needs and prefer instead a more classic player, like perhaps Amarok or Totem or VLC. If you like to explore the Internet in search of movies and music, including only previews, teasers, short documentaries, news podcasts, and anything else that makes sounds or animates images, Miro will be a nice addition to your arsenal.
It's streamlined and good-looking, it works well, it has numerous features that will make your quest for data faster and more pleasurable. Overall, Miro seems like an interesting program. Alongside Vuze, it should serve your Web needs well, especially if you prefer to do it without leaving your desktop and opening the browser.
That would be all for today. Cheers.