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Democracy Player - Nicholas Reville
Benjamin J. Higginbotham
We caught up with Nicholas Reville of the Participatory Culture Foundation. They are about to release version 0.9.5 of democracy player which will be their last big revision before their release of Democracy 1.0.

Democracy Player
Democracy Player 480p
Democracy Player 720p
Democracy Player 1080p
Help with HD
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes 480p
Apple iTunes 720p
Apple iTunes 1080p

Benjamin Higginbotham: Benjamin Higginbotham with With me I’ve got Nicholas, once again from a Participatory Culture Foundation, those are the guys who make Democracy Player. Nicholas welcome.

Nicholas Reville: Hi, how are you?

Benjamin Higginbotham: Doing great. How about yourself?

Nicholas Reville: Very good, thanks.

Benjamin Higginbotham: So, you guys are on the cusp of releasing Democracy Player 0.9.5, just kind of rolls right of the tongue, tell us little bit about this new release?

Nicholas Reville: Yeah, this is a big update for us and it’s the biggest update that you will see before our 1.0 comes out. We have a lot of important stuff in here, lot of which behind the scene, but some of the stuff you'll notice is we use on interface, it’s smoother and simpler and sleeker . We have some nice things like Mac users, it’s will generate thumbnails automatically, once you download a video, we don’t have that yet, for Windows users, but that's something that we're definitely working on . It has proxy support, better bitTorrent support, better job resuming download when something is interrupted, and all in all its a smoother and cleaner experience and it’s big step towards the 1.0.

Benjamin Higginbotham: You know one thing I noticed is that as each build keeps getting released, the system seems to use less and less RAM and get faster and faster and faster in it’s ability to just playback files and download files, because I remember working with beta, I think it’s like 0.8 or something like that and it was pretty big RAM hog, how are you coming on the optimization of Democracy at this point?

Nicholas Reville: That’s definitely big focus for us, with past few versions we’ve done a lot to reduce them, reduce the menus, improve the speed and that’s going to be something that we continue to work on, but it’s not clear right now whether we will be doing some big changes before or after 1.0. Over the next 6 months, you are gonna continue to see much better performance. Usually the response is its faster and more responsive, so we definitely see that as important.

Benjamin Higginbotham: Now, you mentioned that this is one of the, at least believe you mentioned that this is one of the final releases before 1.0 which is very close to your road to 1.0. What do we have left to get your 1.0? What can we expect in 1.0?

Nicholas Reville: Yeah, the big thing that you will see in 1.0 is stability and we are gonna be doing a lot of bug fixing , trying to nail down some of the last final faults that we haven’t been able to fix so far . The biggest challenge on our end is that is just been able to reproduce the bugs, finding a system that we can see it happen, because there is so many different kinds of setups out there, but a bug that only happening under a set of a circumstances and that makes it hard for us track it down and fix it. Once we see it happening, we know we can always fix it and so stability fixing bug has got on the biggest priority. There is also just few sort of finishing touches we wanna make it easier little bit, use the remote controls Democracy Player, they have something like that, have a few more ways where people can customize and interact with that, so it’s sort of, it’s most of been clean up around the edges, but able to feel like a more complete experience. One of the biggest things its about to happen, we gonna rename the Democracy Player and we found that a lot of people get confused by the name when they first hear about it they think that it only has content related to politics on it which is definitely not the case that we intended with the name, so we feel like it’s important for us to find a new name, we have one that we think it’s gonna work with just going to some legal stuff and also given the new icons and website to launch.

So, that’s part of that I am going through that process, we are gonna be launching the new name, new style player , that’s gonna new bit tip and the final thing and that I think right now, probably that the weaker side of the Democracy Player experienced is the channel guide. We are rewriting that from scratch, the version release is now it’s based on some existing software that’s out there and doesn’t exactly sit on the roots that our needs, so what we are doing is starting all from scratch , may be for you very fast, very responsive and once we have good foundation of that, we are gonna be doing a lot of work to, it add better rating system, find more ways to trick off the best content. As we have seen the channel guys reached nearly a 1,000 different channels to bring more and more important files to finalize and filtering up the best stuff , so you want to make it easier for people to share channels, rate channels and see what people really like and in lot of subscribers , but that looks attractive on the surface.

Benjamin Higginbotham: It feels like a next natural extension for Democracy Players is gonna get PMP support, such as the Playstation portable, the video iPod or other small portable video players and I know that’s not currently a feature of Democracy Player, at least the ability to take the videos that have downloaded and push it to these other devices, mainly because it’s extremely complex. I mean the video iPod is gonna take a totally different video format than the PSP, which is gonna take totally different video format then a place for sure when it’s mobile device. Now, is that on your roadmap to actually add, is that gonna be 1.0 feature or later and how you gonna deal with that?

Nicholas Reville: Yeah, thinking the portable devices like the iPod or PSP something like we definately want to do, and it’s not gonna happen for 1.0. We feel like our mission for 1.0 is to make a solid and excellent desktop app that can be used everyday and really rely upon, that’s the way we want to define 1.0 Getting a full foundation in place, from there we like to see Democracy Player might be able to get some content out to more different devices getting it on your TV more easily on to any portable devices that you are using and so we are gonna start making that happen. It may mean that when we start that ability, we will look to push to the most popular devices, if it’s in platform that’s allready in play then later on we will have the ability trans code from  one format into another format and so that more of your videos are able to play on your iPod for example , but that’s definitely coming for us.

Benjamin Higginbotham: And Nicholas last time we talked, we actually went to you and we talked at that time iTunes was one version lower, really didn’t have very good video support, since then iTunes has added a whole new video catalog, you got shows downloads of episodes of television shows and movies and whatnot and they have changed the way they deal with video. How does that compete with Democracy, does it compete with Democracy and why are you different or why are you better than iTunes in that front?

Nicholas Reville: Yeah, iTunes have made some improvements on their video software, but the focus that they have is really on primarily on collection of videos, for example movies that you buy of from the store and music video buy from the store and it’s really a certain kind of collection and our focus is more on the flow of the internet, the flow of videos which is becoming more and more a part of peoples online experience and I think we are really offering experience that’s very different and goes way beyond the approach that iTunes takes, the channel model that we have really lets to handle lots of videos coming in seeing what’s on a variety of channels, organizing that in different ways and I think we still have them beat in terms of video experience.

Benjamin Higginbotham: From a publisher standpoint I think the big differentiator between Democracy and iTunes is torrent support. I can directly download a torrent video file and as I am publishing my high definition 1080p videos, which we do, the bandwidth is taken off of me and so I no longer have to pay for the full distribution of the file, may be a little bit now and I think that’s really one of the big powerful features of Democracy and you guys get kudos does for that for having that from the beginning, I mean that’s really what makes you guys different in standout from the rest of crowd.

Nicholas Reville: Yeah, I think the bittorrent support that we have is definitely something, I didn’t know iTunes can’t compete with. We also we have lot more flexibility on video formats both on Mac, Windows now that we're able to play, flash video file which are the most popular online video files now and lot bigger variety of formats been it need play with iTunes it does mean you need a player or anything else I doubt there , the choice will be a video organizer, video download.

Benjamin Higginbotham: Well Nicholas, It’s a great product and we always enjoy to chat with you and I hope you will come back soon when you release version 1.0, whatever it will be called at that point.

Nicholas Reville: Thank you so much.

Benjamin Higginbotham: You have a great day , thank you.

Nicholas Reville: I will definitely return back, you too, take care.


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