Musings from Mars Banner Image
For Software Addicts: Yes!MaybeNah!
Mars Report:

Democracy: Podcast Client Opens Up Internet TV

Published December 23rd, 2006

Democracy - Open Source Internet TV Platform

Democracy Videocasting FreewareOriginally downloaded 2/23/06. This looks extremely cool… you can try out their reader, which works on Mac, Linux, and Windows, and they also provide a “Broadcast Machine”–a php/mysql web application for use in setting up your own internet TV station! This is the kind of thing that keeps the web so revolutionary… and exciting!

Update 12/24/06. I don’t intend to let myself get sucked into Internet TV, mind you. But if I did, I’d probably use Democracy player. This terrific open source project has grown by leaps and bounds since it first debuted earlier this year, and the latest client is well worth checking out. It comes with a guide to existing podcast resources as well as a search engine that displays results from the biggest web video sites such as Yahoo, Google, and YouTube. Subscribing to “channels” is very easy, and Democracy takes care of deleting old videos you download but don’t specifically mark to save. You’ll find smart folders, regular folders, playlists, and lots of options for customizing the way Democracy works.

Democracy Player's Main Window Doing Search and Download

I did have a few user interface complaints, but I suspect these developers will smooth out the rough spots as time goes on (including replacing that horrible, scary icon). Here are my notes on pros and cons:



  • Very inviting podcast viewer. Democracy lets you subscribe to RSS feed podcasts and then plays them in an attractive interface.
  • Includes a bit torrent client for truly large files.
  • Nice, simple controls for video playback, including a full-screen mode.
  • Democracy lets you control how much disk space it consumes, and it can automatically delete videos after x days if you don’t manually save them.
  • You can set up folders to organize related channels.
  • It provides a Channel Guide that helps organize and categorize the many possible sources for video podcasts.
  • Democracy supports video playlists, and provides the option of organizing those into folders as well.
  • It’s part of a larger ecosystem devoted to free, open video publishing on the web. The Democracy project also provides Broadcast Machine, a server software package in PHP/MySQL for publishing video casts that supports the torrent protocol. And Video Bomb is a sort of alternative to YouTube where you can publish your own TV channels.
  • Can’t mark videos as “watched”.
  • You can’t customize the playlist’s appearance… for example, the icon and type take up a huge amount of unnecessary space. I’d prefer a more compact view.
  • Democracy returns you to the top of the playlist whenever you finish watching something. This means you have to find your way back down the long list to where you were.
  • No back button.

Version as tested:

  • Google
  • Slashdot
  • Technorati
  • blogmarks
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Mixx

Show Comments
Just Say No To Flash