Watch Internet TV with Miro
I’ve already blogged about VLC, a media player for watching your casual video. But VLC is not the best option for watching TV. And what do I mean by TV ? I’m not talking about watching video from an hardware TV card. I’m talking about internet TV. Miro allows you to subscribe to more than 4000 free channels gathered from around the web. These channels are basically video podcasts, and what Miro does is aggregate those podcasts into channels and simplify their subscription in a way it almost resembles TV.
When you first start Miro, you’re presented with the Miro guide. The Miro guide is a channel guide, where you can browse through all channels offered and select the ones you’d like to watch. After registering for a channel, its name will appear in the sidebar and it will download the information about the shows currently available for that channel. You can then see a small description for every show available and choose to watch the ones you like. Miro will then download the selected shows for you to watch later. This means that you can’t view the shows immediately. Miro doesn’t do streaming, it always downloads the video first. So you can’t use Miro to watch some streaming TVs available on the net. Remember, Miro works around the concept of subscribing a channel (like rss) and then watching the shows later, when you have the time.
Using Miro is supposed to be very simple, so you don’t have to manage files. All downloaded videos are deleted by default 5 days after you watched them (you can delete them manually before, if you like). Normally you don’t even have to ask Miro to download the videos. By default Miro automatically downloads new videos from channels you have subscribed. I don’t like that, so I configured to download manually. I prefer to browse the channels and select the videos I want to watch based on their descriptions. You can also organize your channels into categories, which simplifies this task even more. Normally I just browse and then download videos from one category at a time, depending on the mood.
Talking about categories, brings me to the best part: the content itself. At the time of this writing, there’s 4032 channels registered on the Miro guide, some of them with very good quality. Some of them in HD 🙂
There’s all sort of channels, from amateur shows to things like CNN, National Geographic, Discovery, etc.
Finally, there’s also something I call "dynamic channels", in contrast with the regular ones I talked about. You can search videos from youtube (and other services alike) and then save that search as a channel. Next time Miro detects a new video that matches the search, the video will appear in Miro as if it were a new show from a regular channel. This is excellent.
Summarizing, Miro is a great way to watch shows from many sources on the net. And it’s also a bit addicting, because there’s so many channels in the guide to explore (and increasing everyday).