Two of the biggest TV apps out there are Joost – from the makers of Skype – and Miro which was formerly known as Democracy Player. Both have their hardcore supporters and denouncers and both have their pros and cons. Although I was initially impressed with Joost – surely one of the best attempts at offering a dedicated scheduled Internet TV service yet – I’ve gravitated back to Miro and here is why.
Miro is open source which immediately curries more favour with certain sectors of the IT savvy crowd. It can be modified and improved by its users while Joost is a closed source program that only the makers can improve. Miro offers thousands of channels from around the world which is way more than Joost although the disadvantage is that none of it is programmed or scheduled. In others words, you have to make your own programming schedule whereas with Joost, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the show. The problem is, if you’re not interested in watching such things as the Nelly Furtado channel, your options are more limited (although I think the documentary channels are pretty good). In essence, Miro is a far more democratic media player than Joost, allowing users to choose and stream channels from whatever source they wish and even create their own content. However, as I say, if you’re more interested in just vegging out than getting interactive, you’ll prefer Joost.
The other major two major aspects of Miro that appeal to me are that you can subscribe to channels with RSS feeds and save broadcasts. I don’t always want to tune in to see what’s on but viewing a feed is a far simpler and convenient solution. And since I can record programs on TV with my Video or DVD player, then I should have every right to do the same on my PC media players which Miro allows you to do no problems.
From a usability perspective, Miro also wins me. Joost is much more commercial in comparison, bloated with Flash graphics, buttons and worst of all, advertisements. Although the ads are minimal in Joost at the moment, they are sure to increase as the audiences go up.
I don’t want to come across as an open source fanatic but on balance and for my needs, Miro comes out on top. However, Joost is still very much a work in progress and in some ways, different anyway because if offers a programmed schedule of viewing. Maybe if it combines the best of both one day, I’ll start using it more regularly again.