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Providing one-stop shopping for all your video needs, Miro downloads videos from the Internet, subscribes to video feeds, manages the collection on your hard drive, and handles torrents with grace.

Providing one-stop shopping for all your video needs, open-source and cross-platform Miro deserves much of the praise that's been heaped upon it. The latest major point to version 2.0 continues to impress.

The concept is brilliant, yet simple: Create a video player that can subscribe to and download video podcasts while managing the videos you've saved on your hard drive. On the face of it, this might sound like iTunes, but the sharing component is an essential aspect of the program. Miro has always been geared toward video and it shows in the program's design. When you launch the app, a left sidebar hosts a folder tree for managing your videos. The central pane does double duty for viewing videos and searching for new ones, although the latest version lets you pop out the viewing window so you can multitask your viewing and browsing. The bottom hosts a search box, for parsing through Google, YouTube, Yahoo, and others, a video control panel, and a volume control. Somewhat confusingly, there's also a search box at the top of the main window.

Features include full torrent support (so you can download and view torrents in the same app), folder watching (to manage only the hard-drive folders you specify for new videos), resumable playback, channel surfing (which organizes video feeds by topic), video sharing and hosting, and assistance in creating and distributing videos. The biggest changes in 2.0, though, are in the guts of the program; it loads faster and is immeasurably more stable than before.

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