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The Innovators - Nicholas Reville of The Participatory Culture Foundation, Part III
Benjamin J. Higginbotham
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 final video of this three part series we talk about the future of Internet Video.

See the full power of Democracy Player. Subscribe to our high-quality, high-resolution torrent feed by clicking the button below. Sound complicated? Democracy makes it simple! Click away and find out...
Democracy: Internet TV

Want to watch the video in your browser? No problem, a lower quality flash version is available below. If you would like to see the full-screen, high-resoltution version please subscribe to the Democracy feed above.

Love Democracy? Hate it? Have a better platform? Lets keep the comments rolling in!
Full transcript after the jump...

Will media shift from the TV to the computer?

I think there is a really big change between sitting in front of your TV and watching something and sitting in front of your computer watching something. I don't think it's the kind of thing that you can convince somebody to change, or to convince them that it's good for them; this is more active, and they should be engaged. But I think it's something that people will be gradually enticed and dragged along into. And it might start by videos on YouTube - random humorous videos - and then a friend points you to a show that's produced on a more regular basis that's interesting to you, and you decide that you want to watch that consistently, and you get a program like Democracy Player that can do that. And then maybe you show it to a couple of friends. They see that it's a more TV like experience than you would have expected from your computer: watching full-screen, watching one video after another, and having really high resolution content. I think people will sort of evolve into it.

How is Democracy used?

I think it's still really early to see how Democracy is going to be used. One thing that's happened just in the last couple days is that we started getting a lot of teachers on our message boards asking us how can they customize the software only have a select sort of channels for their students and use that in the classroom. That's something we had hoped we'd be able to find ways of connecting with students because it really is a great educational tool; both for watching and creating. Getting that feedback from them is - I'm sure is going to lead us to develop some stuff that makes this a really useful in an educational context.

We keep hearing from people that are using it in different ways; really across the spectrum from technology shows to religious sermons, sports, video blogs. It's really amazing the stuff we're seeing already.

What should content creators do to better their feeds?

The most important thing people can do in their video feeds is have thumbnails for each video. When someone subscribes to your channel they'll see a picture of each video. It's much more engaging and makes people much more likely to download something. In addition, having an icon for your channel which will show up in the sidebar, submitting it to the Channel Guide and including a good image there. And we've actually just put out a guide today that's at that's a list of ten ways that you can help promote your video feed. And one of those - one of the new ways to promote your video feed is to make a preview of it - a sixty second long preview with clips of your shows, you talking about what your show is about, whatever you think will engage people, and submit that to the Channel Channel where we will put it up, people can watch it, and if it looks interesting they can subscribe.

But, I think that really no matter what you do, ultimately it really comes down to the quality of your content. If it's interesting, if it's tight, well edited, and engages people. If you can do that a lot of the rest of the stuff will take care of itself.

Any problems along the way?

Probably the biggest miscalculation we made in this whole project was how long it would take to build something; to get Democracy Player to where it is today. It's probably taken about twice as long as we thought it would. We've still done it, I think, extremely quickly considering that we're maintaining it with identical functionality on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Supporting different versions of OSX, different versions of Windows, and different distributions on Linux. I think we maybe misjudged a little bit about what we were getting into, but maybe that was a good thing because it made it easier for us to jump into such a big undertaking.

Final Thoughts?

I think that as video online gets sorted out, and as we see centralized Flash video sites like YouTube competing with something like us that's open source, decentralized and standards based: that's kind of the battle for the future of video online as we see it. I think that both options have a lot to offer users. It's great to be able to watch video on a website, but it's really important that not all video be tied up in one main central service because in the end, that is going to mean bad things for users and limitations on publishers. If we can see that really a substantial number of people are using video RSS, and if we feel like we've been a part of it - part of making that happen - then we'll really feel like we've succeeded, and that we've been able to make sure that there's an open standards approach to online video.

The Innovators

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1. Posted by: SportS on October 26, 2006 4:28 AM:

Nicholas Reville raizes some good points, I for one think youtube is revolutionary... you get home from work tired... dragged around and beaten down, turn on the TV, you can decide what to watch! And this is only the beginning.

2. Posted by: zappos on November 2, 2006 3:03 AM:

SportS has a point there...this is, in my opinion, the end of entertainment as we know it...people are already checking for news on the internet and nevertheless, television is a way of mass manipulation by imposing what THEY want us to see... This is a step forward for the progress of the society

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