Miro Internet TV Blog - Archive for October, 2006

From Bombs to Stars

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

We give up!

Too many people have told us too many times that they don’t like or don’t understand the ‘bombs’ on Video Bomb. Sometimes, you’ve got to throw in the towel. So we’ve just switched the bombs to stars. Check it out.

We’re still keeping the name Video Bomb (we think it’s a cool name) but hopefully we’ve eliminated all the confusion about whether clicking on a bomb was a good thing or a bad thing (for the record, it was a good thing). This was an especially serious problem within Democracy Player, where people avoided the bomb button like the plague, since they didn’t know whether it would delete the video or crash the computer. The 0.9.1 release shows a star instead of a bomb.

We’ve got this nice new animated star flipsplosion designed by Michael Bell-Smith. You’ll see it when you ‘star’ something. There’s a little flakiness in the timing of the flip and there’s still a bunch of places where we say ‘bomb’ instead of star, but we’re getting there.

The Stars are Out at Video Bomb

Democracy Player 0.9.1 Released!

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

We have just released a major update to Democracy Player. Download it here:
Democracy Player 0.9.1

This version has lots of new features and improvements. A quick list is below– for more details read these three blog posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Big Things

1. The interface is faster and more responsive.

2. Save any search as a ‘Search Channel’ and Auto Download new results:
Picture 24.png

3. Flash playback on Mac and Windows (new to Mac).

4. Import videos on startup on Mac and Windows (new to Windows).

5. A simpler, better channel view.

Little Things

6. Green circles become play buttons on hover:

7. Web page permalink shown on each video.

8. A new preference to play one video, then stop.

9. A new preference to change torrent ports.

10. Right-click to mark as unwatched.

11. Right-click to add to a new playlist.

12. Rename a channel.

13. Better channel settings page.

14. Bug fixes!

Viewers don’t really care how it gets to them

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

I completely agree with Mike Hudack’s blog post from a couple weeks ago about what to call online video shows: It’s the rock star, not the vinyl.

Most people don’t care how TV gets to them or what channel it’s on, they just want to watch. If a show comes via cable or satellite or terrestrial broadcast or the internet or even DVD, it’s still a TV show. We don’t need a new term like ‘netcast’ for the same reason we don’t call satellite TV shows ‘satcasts’. When we need to specify that a broadcast is internet based, we can say ‘internet TV’ the same way we would say ‘satellite TV’ or ‘network TV’ or ‘cable TV’ or ‘pay-per-view’.

A side note: I think ‘video blog’ is a useful term for a specific type of internet-based video show. This is the same as any genre of show: all soap operas are TV shows but not all TV shows are soap operas. Similarly, all video blogs are TV shows, but not all TV is a video blog.

What’s coming in Democracy Player 0.9.1: Part 3

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

There are a whole bunch of new features in the upcoming 0.9.1 that I didn’t cover in Part 1 and Part 2. Here’s a rundown.


Flash Playback on Mac – With the help of the amazing Perian, Mac users can now play flash videos and lots of other codecs seamlessly inside Democracy Player. When you run Democracy Player for the first time, it will check to see if you have the newest versions of 2 quicktime components (Perian and an Ogg component) and will ask if you want to install them. For Mac users, this feature really completes the experience (Windows users can already do this in 0.9).

Interface Reorganization – We’ve made some big changes to the way the basic channel view looks and works. The ‘unwatched’ and ‘expiring’ sections are gone. That leaves us with three: Downloading, Videos Available, and Downloaded. To make this simplification work well, we made the indication that a video is new or unwatched more visible. We’ll also be sorting new videos to the top of the Downloaded section so that they are the first thing you see, even though they don’t have their own section anymore. In addition to a simplified view, another big improvement is that videos don’t ‘jump around’ anymore. If you watch a video that was unwatched, it will stay where it is when you return to the channel view. However, if you leave the channel and come back, the unwatched videos will rise to the top of the list again. This explanation probably doesn’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t thought a lot about how our interface works, but here’s the big picture: we think we’ve found some ways to make the interface simpler and cleaner while still putting the videos that you are likely to want in front of you at the right times. Our interface will continue to evolve and we love hearing suggestions about how it can be better.

video item

In addition to reorganizing the channel sections, we also moved the file details and published date on each video into a column on the right side. The buttons for saving, deleting, sharing, and starring (formerly ‘bombing’ — more on that change soon) are also better organized.

It’s the small things that make the big features really work for you.

Green Hover PlayGreen Hover Play – This is a personal favorite of mine. If you hover over the green ‘unwatched’ circle next to the name of a channel, the number will turn into a play button. Clicking it will play the new videos on that channel. That way, you don’t have to switch to a channel to watch what’s new. Click once, lean back.

Web Page Link – Any video file that has an associated web page– usually a blog post or a page with more details about the video– now has a ‘WEB PAGE’ link that takes you to that page in your browser. This is especially useful for sites that allow comments on videos. Future versions of Democracy Player will let you display even more associated info about a video file, such as the full description, torrent stats, publisher name etc.

Play one video, then stop – We’ve had a lot of requests for this one. People want to be able to play a single video without continuing to the next one. There is now a global preference that will make this the default behavior and there is a new right-click option on videos to ‘Play Just This Video’.

Change Torrent Ports – We’ve added a setting that lets you specify the minimum and maximum torrent ports. There’s more that we want to do in future releases to improve torrent performance.

Mark as unwatched – Another frequently requested feature. You can now right-click on a video and mark it as unwatched.

Right-click to add to playlist – You can now right-click to add a single video or multiple videos to a new playlist. Makes it easy to get organized.

Rename channels – Right-click on a channel or use a menu option to rename a channel This is great for channels that show a full URL instead of a nice neat name.

Better Channel Settings Page – The channel settings box is prettier and more clear. Now it hovers over the channel, rather than being a separate screen. This isn’t a big difference technically speaking, but i think it makes the main channel view feel a little more stable, since you aren’t switching away from it and back.

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