Open-source music and video jukebox Miro gets a serious signal boost in its recently released third version. It's available for Windows, Mac, and Linux; the update debuts an overall zippier program, along with automatic subtitle support, a higher maximum volume, and better file info support.
Quickly messing around in the new Miro, and having used it since it's days as the Democracy Player, it's impressive how far the program has come. As audio and video content continues to come from increasingly diverse sources, Miro provides an excellent clearinghouse from which to manage and play back content from your torrents as well as your feeds.
Gone are the days when Miro's memory-hogging ways would drag your computer to the ground. Even when streaming two videos simultaneously, Miro only used 280MB of RAM. That's not a lot for two high-resource tasks. Of course, that reveals another problem with Miro. It won't stop you from playing two differently sourced pieces of content at the same time, unless they're both using the built-in media player. You can stream a classic "Voltron" cartoon while watching an educational TED lecture on AIDS, but why would you want to?
During installation, Miro also forces you to choose to opt-out instead of opt-in to several services: the Bing-powered MiroStart, Miro Search Toolbar 1.1, and changing your default search to Bing. These are a bit surprising given that Miro is not only open-source, but even used the crowd-sourced fundraiser Kickstarter to fund the new subtitles feature.
Miro's new open-source video converter, available for Windows and Mac, will hopefully be integrated into Miro itself at some point. The converter looks to be similar to the better-known HandBrake, a reputable, all-in-one video converter with built-in mobile device settings. The Miro Video Converter supports most Android phones, including the Nexus One, Droid/Milestone, and G1, Apple's iPhone, iPod Nano, and iPod Classic, and Sony's PSP. Though it can take nearly any input format, it currently can output video only as Ogg Theora, MP4, or rip the audio out of a video file into an MP3.
Whereas HandBrake and others offer far more in the way of customization, the Miro Video Converter's simple interface reflects the limited choices. For most users, though, this should be more than enough.