Miro – king of online video tools

My online video experience until very recently was limited to watching clips directly on YouTube and Google Video, and downloading episodes of Diggnation once in a while.  There are of course more places and worthy video podcasts on the Web, but I just didn’t have the right tool, and I didn’t bother enough.  But all of that had changed.  A few days ago I stumbled upon Miro.


So, what’s Miro?  Miro is a cross-platform (works on Linux, Mac, and Windows) application for downloading and watching online videos.  It has a really simple and straightforward interface and does a lot of magic by itself.  You just search for things that you are interested in – either by keyword or by category – review the list of results, subscribe to shows that you like and Miro automatically downloads them to your computer.  You can watch those shows any time later.  Even when you are not connected to the Internet (such as on the airplane for example).

You can search through downloads, sort them in a number of ways, etc.  After you have seen the video, you can either delete it or keep it.  If you do nothing about it, Miro will keep it on your computer for a few days (defaults to 5), and then will delete it to save some space.

Miro also comes with a built-in video player, so you don’t need any external ones installed.  On Linux, Miro supports two back-ends – gstreamer and xine.  I had a problem with gstreamer not playing any audio, so I switched to xine and everything is working nicely now.  As an extra bonus, Miro’s video player remembers your last position for every video you played.  So if you just stop the playback and decide to continue later, you won’t have to fast forward – Miro will just automatically start playing from the point where you stopped.

Miro supports a number of sites for video downloads.  With YouTube, for example, it downloads a high definition (HD) version of the video by default, if its available.  Also, torrent sites are supported and Miro handles them automatically as well.

Miro is such a simple and useful tool that it changes the way you see online videos.  For example, before Miro I could only handle just a few podcasts, but now I am subscribed to dozens.  It’s like an RSS aggregator for online video.  It’ll make you want watch more videos.  And it will make it extremely easy to do.

Obviously, I can go on and on about how wonderful it is, but instead of listening to me, you should get Miro and give it a try.  Let me know in the comments if you liked it at all.

Longer video? Maybe.

Scobleizer believes in longer videos:

Advertisers also will pay a lot higher rates for those long-form ads.


Because someone who’ll watch a 30-minute video is HIGHLY ENGAGED. They are far more likely to become a customer than someone who just watches a two-minute entertaining video.

I think that “video” is too broad for this topic.  To consider only educational and entertainment videos, I see a huge difference.  I don’t believe that entertainment videos will become longer.   Entertainment is a sort of thing that doesn’t have to go either deep or long.  Thus it doesn’t need large chunks of time.  Educational video is a totally other story.  While there are many “howto” type of videos, many topics require more than 5 minutes to explain.  Take Google Tech Talks for example.  They are pretty popular and each one takes about an hour.

There is also this factor of production costs.  It’s much harder to create 60 minutes of high quality (and I don’t mean pixels or bytes) video material, than 10 minutes.  Or 5.  Filmmakers know that.  And the audience knows that.   While less and less filmmakers will risk it, and more and more of those who do risk it will produce crapy long videos, the audience will learn the benefit of a short video and will be more inclined into choosing shorter formats.

However, since I am not at all involved in any video production or distrubtion, I might be totally wrong on this.  Judging purely from my own experience.  And my own experience mostly comes from YouTube and Google Video.