Five Minutes with the Democracy Player

I just downloaded an installed the Democracy Player — sort of a TiVo for online videos. It not only lets you download and watch videos, but you’re able to subscribe to “channels” of content.

From what I understand, it uses a file transfer protocol (Bittorrent) that lets people share bits of the file as they are downloading it. This takes a huge load off of the central servers that are hosting the original files. The big benefit of this is that it lets ordinary people distribute online TV shows without having to make huge capital investments (much in the same way that blogs let regular people become journalists). I’m sure there will be plenty of bad content cropping up, but quality content should quickly rise to the surface.

With all of this in mind, I still don’t like the name. Sure, I can see why they chose it from a philosophical point of view, but the philosophy department shouldn’t be in charge of naming. The other big problem is that it’s still pretty buggy. It’s still an early release (not even 1.0 yet), so I’m not surprised by the bugs – I am a bit surprised that they’re cropping up in the first five minutes. After starting to download my first video, the application became very slow. I was able to get a couple more videos going, but it’s pretty much locked up right now.

At this point, I can’t recommend the Democracy Player. It’s a promising idea that will either take off or be copied by everyone else. I look forward to trying version 1.0 as soon as it’s ready.

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