Miro Internet TV Blog - Archive for November, 2007

Gatekeepers at Work: YouTube Yanks Egyptian Activist

Friday, November 30th, 2007

YouTube’s market share in online video is monopolistic. Why does it matter? Here’s the best example yet: YouTube suspends Egyptian blog activist’s account.

You could protest YouTube’s policy in this case or any other situation where videos get censored. But fundamentally, the structure of the online video market is where the problem lies.

When the place people watch videos is the same as the place people host videos, you get consolidation and gatekeepers. Publishers want to put up a video once and reach as many folks as possible, so of course the more popular YouTube gets, the more reason they have to publish there. Users like to have one space that brings together all the video they like, but if all that video is hosted by the same service then you have a single company controlling what people can and can’t watch. This snowball effect for both creators and users is what helped YouTube grow so fast; the more popular it got, the more sense it made for everyone to use it. It’s also what put a single company in charge of so much of what gets seen online.

Miro is designed to break the tie between where a video is hosted and where it’s watched. Miro can pull in video from YouTube, from other big videos sites, or from any tiny server anywhere on the internet. Just as users don’t care where your web servers are, they shouldn’t care where your video is hosted. A decentralized model lets video hosting companies compete for creators with better service (not just the biggest user base) and gives viewers a unified experience that brings in video from everywhere (not just the biggest video site of the moment).

You can’t have real freedom of speech when 90% of viewers are watching video on just a few sites run by naturally risk-averse corporations.

After Miro 1.0

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

As you probably assume, we’re already neck-deep in work on Miro 1.1 and beyond. It’s always dangerous to predict what will be in future versions, but there’s a few things we’re pretty sure about.

The next release will be Miro 1.1. It will have a few small bug fixes and tweaks, but the major improvement will be dramatically better BitTorrent support. The current version of Miro relies on code from the last free, open-source version of the BitTorrent Inc. software (they have since gone closed source and that code is now fairly out of date).

Recently, a project called libtorrent has been building open-source torrent code base that’s looking great. We’re in the process of switching our torrent engine to libtorrent which will generally modernize our torrent support and add crucial features like encryption (which helps reduce the effects of traffic shaping by anti-neutrality ISPs). Once libtorrent is in place in Miro, it will be easy for us to update to new versions as that project moves forward. It’s a perfect example of what makes free, open-source software so useful and powerful.

As we’re working on 1.1, we’re also starting on some bigger, deeper changes that should improve Miro’s performance and responsiveness. This new code will also make it easier for us to develop alternate interfaces for Miro, such as a fullscreen TV-style navigation system. If you’re technically inclined, you can follow the action on the developer blogs and on the developer mailing list.

Launch Madness and Bandwidth $$$

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Wow, the 1.0 launch has been pretty amazing. Yesterday the Miro Guide had 90,000 visits, which is triple our daily rate in October. GetMiro.com spiked to 80,000 visits, more than 10 times it’s usual.

The launch coverage has been wonderful. Here’s some of the biggest ones: Fortune Magazine Blog, Wired Monkeybites Blog, Ars Technica, TechCrunch, Slashdot, Technology Evangelist, Lessig, Tech.co.uk, and our buddy Cory at BoingBoing. Also, I read somewhere that we were on the G4 cable channel and we’ve been getting lots of non-english press, some of which seems pretty big. More importantly, we’re getting hundreds of links from personal blogs (get a button!) and as always, word of mouth brings us many more users than any media coverage.

All this traffic has left us with a good, but expensive problem of bandwidth. We don’t host any video downloads; since Miro is a decentralized player everything comes from individual publishers and the videos we make about Miro we usually host free on the fantastic Blip.tv. Our downloads are generously hosted on the OSU Open Source Lab ftp network, so we don’t worry about that. But even just getmiro.com and the Miro Guide are up at 50mbps at times. It’s a good problem to have of course, but it’s pushing past our (small) budget.

If anyone out there has a server with major bandwidth available, give us a holler. If you’d like to donate some money, now would be a really, really, really helpful moment. If you might be able to give a large donation now would be a great time and I’d *love* to talk to you :) – nicholas-at-pculture.org.

(All donations are tax-deductible for Americans and since we spend in US dollars, your international bucks go far right now!)

Finally, I want to give a personal shout-out and congratulations to everyone on our team and all the volunteers, translators, testers, coders, donors, and advocates that have made this possible. You’re all kicking ass (and we’d love to get even more of you involved).

Miro 1.0 is Here

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Miro 1.0

I am incredibly excited to announce the launch of Miro 1.0.

With this launch, we are ready to build a movement for truly open video. We’re on a mission, we have a world-class product, we have an amazing community, and more and more open channels are being published every day. It’s the right time.

Comprehensive Feature Guide
With version 1.0, we’ve also published a fairly comprehensive overview of Miro features. Even our power users might notice a couple things they haven’t tried yet. Miro 1.0 Features.

Press Release
It seemed like a press release would be helpful for our reporter friends, so we’ve published one here: Groundbreaking Open-Source Internet TV Software Launches.


Co-Branding Miro
We’re preparing to launch the first round of co-branded Miros for specific websites and video publishers. We’re working with some incredible partners. If you’re interested, please see our Co-Branding Overview and get in touch with Jesse.

Why is Miro Better than Joost?
Recently, we published a chart comparing ourselves to Joost. We believe Miro is both a better product and better for the world. Miro vs. Joost.


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