The Technology Evangelist team recently had a chance to sit down with Nicholas Reville from the Participatory Culture Foundation
, creators of Democracy Player
. In the second of this three part series we talk about where Democracy is going from here.
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Full transcript after the jump...
When will we see a non-beta Democracy Player?
We think we have maybe two or three more incremental released before we go to 1.0 and the things that we're really focusing on now are speed and memory use. We want to improve speed and reduce memory use. We want to add a few more features that will help people organize things, add a lot of interface polish, good right-click menus, all the little bits and pieces that make an application something you really enjoy using on a day to day basis. And then beyond that we probably, you know, we already have in mind probably at least a years worth of features that we want to continue to add and improve the product and things like being able to publish from within the application, syncing to iPods and other video players, being able to burn to CDs, being able to generate thumbnail images for videos automatically. Things like that. So we think that there's... we have a long way to go in terms of just getting Democracy Player to really be what we image it, but we're defiantly hitting a point now where many people can use it every day, is really useful for people. We think it really offers the best online video experience that exists. It can be really high quality stuff, it's there when you want to watch it, it's an easy to use interface and helps you keep everything organized.
How does Democracy compare to other video platforms?
Well, I think that within the category of software, desktop software that does something similar to Democracy Player, iTunes and FireAnt are defiantly the most similar to us. iTunes does support video podcasting but the interface is really designed for audio podcasting and I think it's limited in a lot of ways, and the don't support Butternut, they support a very limited number of video Codes. So FireAnt is really the most similar product to ours. I, you know, we really support what they're doing, they're a small group of activists that really care about their work and are really passionate about video blogging and we think that's wonderful.
Where is online video heading?
I think it's hard to predict exactly how things are going to play out. Our goal is more focused on giving people a way that they can get their message out and something that's open, it's free for everyone to use, free to publish to and free to watch. And so we really want to empower those individuals, small groups that might not been able to get onto mainstream media in the past, be able to do that, have a worldwide audience, have quality stuff without having to have deep pockets. I think that we're going to see huge changes in how the Internet affects traditional media and I'm sure that what we're doing will be a part of that, but I also think that media companies have also shows that they are very flexible and adaptive and I think you'll see a lot of them and we already have seen a lot of them come into this space and compete along with everyone else.
Will online video clog the Internet tubes?
I think bandwidth is extremely important especially to small publishers and it's important to us that any publisher be able to get their video out in as high quality format as they want, to as many people as they want and not have money be a limit to how well you can get you message out. A first step to accomplishing that is out support of BitTorrent which lets people share the bandwidth among everyone who is watching something and that really can dramatically reduce the amount of bandwidth costs. Combined with some free services I think you'll see that becomes really possible for people to reach a lot, a lot of people around the world with almost no out-of-pocket expenses. If video keeps going the way it's going there may be a Internet wide problem with bandwidth which is that bandwidth which has been getting cheaper and cheaper could start to become a more scarce resource is everybody's downloading hundreds of megabytes of videos every day. But I think that, and I'm certainly not at all an expert on these kinds of things, but my sense is that Internet services providers and other people like Google and other people that own big parts of the Internet backbone will find ways of caching and sharing out video in a way that will help ease some of those bottlenecks. I think that's going to be a very solvable problem.
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