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An equal-opportunity player

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 3.0 offers more speed and stability improvements, along with a few feature tweaks.

The concept is brilliant, yet simple: create a jukebox video and audio player that can subscribe to and download podcasts while managing your locally saved media. 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, with links to Miro's own video guide, a search window, Web site embeds including Hulu and torrents, and playlists. The central pane does double duty for viewing videos and searching for new ones, although the latest version won't stop playback when you switch windows. Playback controls are on the bottom.

Features include torrent support for downloading torrents and viewing their content in the same app; folder watching; resumable playback; channel surfing, which organizes video feeds by topic; video sharing and hosting; and assistance in creating and distributing videos. Version 3 introduces extensive subtitle support, better metadata management, and a higher maximum volume. Note that Miro's installation still opts users in to changes you might not want, such as making Bing your default search engine. As long as you're aware of it, though, Miro still makes for an excellent media management tool.

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