For the good and for the bad, television has been one of the most influential factors in the development of our present day culture and world view. While the reality and illusions television has created may not be perfectly marching the ideal world you may have been dreaming about, not all is lost.
From the moment in which television can be transformed from a top-down medium, where few "players" decide and determine what everyone else can select to see to an open medium where everyone has the right and ability to contribute her video-based content, television is doomed to be transformed for good.
That historical moment may be getting one definite step closer today, with the upcoming launch of Democracy Player, the final component of an open video access and publishing platform that truly allows anyone (on Macs and PCs) to view, vote, subscribe, show, share, publish and distribute video-based content online at no cost at all.
Today is indeed the official launch day for the newest and final piece of Participatory Culture democratic television platform. The platform includes four key components:
4) The Channel Guide
Participatory Culture, who is a team of 10 passionate people, has spent the last 12 months building the first democratic television publishing platform. Today, February 21st 2006, they are releasing the final missing piece of this fascinating video publishing puzzle.
Let me give you a brief intro to each one of the components of this powerful toolset:
Democracy Player(formerly known as DTV)
The Democracy player, being launched today, is the Windows based version of the existing DTV for Mac desktop based application. This is a slim video and podcast player, similar to what iTunes can do in terms of providing access to podcasts and videoblogs via RSS subscription. The Democracy player can play videos in full screen mode, allows background downloading of selected videos and subscribed feeds and can automatically self-delete episodes older than any pre-specified amount of time. Democracy provides also a direct window into the Channel Guide just like iTunes provides easy and immediate access to its own Music Store making it easy for anyone to select and subscribe specific content. From within the Democracy Player one can also fully interact with the new VideoBomb service: just click 'bomb' on a video and it gets added to your feed. If your friends subscribe to your feed, the videos you pick will be delivered to their desktops as well.
With today's release of Democracy, the Windows-based podcast and video feed reader/player, Participatory Culture completes the first grassroots media publishing and access toolset, which allows anyone to view, vote, browse, search, publish and distribute video-based content absolutely for free.
Note: While at this time Democracy is not yet available on the Participatory Culture site, it will become available in the coming hours. Just check again in a while. I have personally been able to test a pre-release version of Democracy. Many features were yet not active but the core facilities and functions were all there and working. Democracy is a fine and intuitive player that has all of the traits needed to capture the hearts of the many new independent video publishers and online television fans out there.
Update: You can download the Democracy player for Windows right now, free as always, on our new community website: http://www.getdemocracy.com/
Mac users: in a week or less, you'll be able to download a new version of the Democracy player (Mac version 0.8) at GetDemocracy.com. There's currently a beta version for Linux users also, so the Democracy player is now cross-platform.
VideoBomb is a new free web site service for sharing videos, creating personal video channels, and filtering up the best videos that are out there, online. The VideoBomb is in some ways the equivalent of delicious or Digg for video-based content. You can submit pointers to any existing online video clip, and other people can vote your choice "bombing" their preferred videos.
VideoBomb is nothing else that a collaborative bookmarking/filtering video portal where everyone can suggest abny video and all the viewers participate in rating and categorizing the available clips. You can watch the "Videobomb frontpage" channel for the videos with the most votes. Or watch Videobomb "Incoming!" and vote the best videos to the community-edited front page. Not only. With VideoBomb you can also create your own custom channel by bringing together the video clips you like the most. Just like with blogs there is an increasing need for authoritative hubs and newsmastering feeds capable of filtering and aggregating the too large number of voices and sources available out there, so the same applies to the video-based content world.
The Broadcast Machine is a software for publishing channels (RSS feeds) of video from your own news, or blog site. Broadcast Machine installs easily, supports BitTorrent, and can automatically create a fully browsable gallery of your videos. With Broadcast Machine you can easily create custom video channels of your own videos by simply leveraging the free archival and storage space offered by Ourmedia/Internet Archive or by any other free or paid video hosting service. Broadcast Machine helps you to optionally broadcast your video clips to thousands of people with virtually no bandwidth costs using its built-in BitTorrent technology. Broadcast Machine is a PHP-based software which needs to be installed on your web server to work. Once installed it effectively creates standard RSS feeds with your videos embedded in them, as well as it provides you with the ability to pull together your favorite videos from any other source. Just like blogging websites, Broadcast Machine lets you link to any video or file that is available on the web. Enter the URL of a file, add metadata, and publish that video to your channels. This means that anyone can utilize use Ourmedia or Vimeo to upload and host her video clips and then she can use Broadcast Machine to pull together an custom online television channel integrating them. Not only.
"Broadcast Machine has a simple user management system that lets you accept submissions of videos and video links from visitors to your site (you can require them to register first, if you choose to). This means you can create a channel for a community: let anyone post to an "open" channel and then pick the best stuff to include in more selective channels-- "Featured Videos", perhaps. Perfect for communities and organizations of every kind since it also creates a browsable archive of all the published videos on your website."
The Channel Guide is probably one of the most strategically important pieces of this broadcasting and access toolkit. As many of you have in fact realized true video democracy can't be achieved without adequate video clearinghouses and search engines that allows us to classify, search, rate and share our video content preferences.
The Channel Guide greets users as soon as they fire up the Democracy player and allows easy selection and subscription to any video channel you would like to watch.
In essence, the Channel Guide is an open listing of Internet TV channels-- video podcasts, vlogs, and other rich-media feeds. Independent publishers can increase their reach and visibility by utilizing the Participatory Foundation platform to present their video-based channels to a targeted, video-interested audience converging around their multiple free tools.
In the Channel Guide people can search, browse, and explore channels in a simple, intuitive way. Tags, popularity ratings, categories and a free service facility are all supported. The Channel Guide already features more than 100 internet TV channels (all free), with more being added every day. Independent video publishers can also submit channels to be included in the guide. If you have an RSS feed with video enclosures, your channel is already compatible.
Make your own channel using DTV and Broadcast Machine.
Download DTV for Mac. (Requires OS X 10.3+ and QuickTime 7)[ Read more ]