The Participatory Culture Foundation just released version 2.0 of Miro, the open source online TV application formerly known as Democracy Player. Miro is a combination of a video and audio podcast player with a built-in bittorrent client. In this new version, Miro also adds rudimentary support for streaming video, though in that respect, it is clearly outclassed by Boxee. Besides the support for streaming video, the new version of Miro also features a more streamlined user interface, a better programming guide, and, maybe most importantly, significant performance upgrades.

The support for streaming video, however, feels half-baked. Unlike Boxee, Miro does not take the videos and displays them within its own interface - instead, it just loads up websites like Hulu.com in a browser inside the application.

Great Video Podcast Player

The area where Miro excels is as a video podcast client. Thanks to the Miro Guide, adding video podcasts like Democracy Now or the Onion News Network is just a two click process. The Miro Guide, which is very well designed, now features over 6000 video podcasts. It is important to remember, though, that this content is bound to your desktop, as Miro doesn't feature any support for portable players.

Too Much Competition

We really like the idea and people behind Miro, but while the promotional video calls it the "best internet video application available," others like Vuze or Boxee are currently offering a wider range of features. Maybe the comparison with Boxee is not necessarily a fair one, though, but the current trend is also clearly towards a convergence between TV and the Internet, and Miro doesn't offer a Boxee-like solution for bringing this content to your living room.