I want my Democracy!

Democracy: the future of TV

In case you missed it, the revolution will not be televised. But it will be available on Bit Torrent. And now, more easily than ever before, you can sit back and can literally download Democracy.

What does this mean for you? Well, the simple answer is that it helps you download your favorite online videos and vlogs more easily. The deeper one is that it gets you off the crack-rock-narcotic that TV has been feeding you interoptically since you were a wee lad. It means that you can watch you friends, not Friends. It means that you can have your own station, not be stationary. It means that you have choice like you’ve never had it before (and no, 500 channels doesn’t mean choice).

How is this possible you ask? How much does it cost?

Well you already know the answer to the latter question: it’s free, as a beer and open, as in GPL’d. And yes, it’ll work on your Mac or your PC (Linux coming soon! Wanna help?).

The former can be answered in two ways. Firstly, that it’s about time we had our own vehicle for producing and syndicating our own, DRM-free content. So some folks stepped up to make it happen. Second, it might go a little something like this:

  1. Hop on over to Vimeo (or your favorite site that syndicates videos).
  2. Grab their feed.
  3. Pipe that into Democracy as a channel and
  4. Download and watch to your heart’s content!

It really is that simple. So now if you a) want to watch videos or vlogs b) want to publish and promote your videos or vlogs or c) want to take part in the untelevised revolution, you know what to do! Viva la resistance!

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: Molly.com (YC W18), Uber, Google.

9 thoughts on “I want my Democracy!”

  1. the windows version: aside from being horribly bug laden, is ugly. a fair amount of the ui doesnt even function. the feed controlling/autodownloading/subscribing systems are awkward/flaky. so is everything about it (the player, etc, etc). when youre choosing content the idea of having channels is counter-intuitive. of course youre going to watch what you chose to download-and everything is divided into these obnoxious impractical sections.

    it just feels chopped together, and isnt nearly as inspiring as their website which touts a bunch of self righteous bullshit. also: open source isnt anything more than a bragging right when you make this convoluted undocumented shit public. id much rather have a rock-solid barebones aggregator than this mess.* its going to take a lot of cleaning up to make this thing worthwhile for me.

    *maybe the mac version is better, my ibook is broken/im awaiting a mbp

  2. Thanks for the heads-up on “Democracy”. I’ve just had a quick look at the Mac version and the UI looks gorgeous – very Mac. I’ll test some subscriptions out later.

    This couldn’t come about at a better time for me, since I’ve just ditched my TV. Since the advent of RSS, podcasting and the like, I’ve become used to being more choosy about what I read, look at, and listen to.

    It’s nice to see that there are others out there who feel the same way, and who have been able to develop a user-friendly way of doing the same for video content. Sure, you can use your own aggregator, a torrent client, and VLC. But from what I’ve seen so far, Democracy brings it all together, and, well, make it feel more ‘natural’ and less of a technical task. Concentrate on the content, not how you acquire it.

    I’m sure the channel guide will improve, especially as people can contribute to it. Heck – there’s even a guide, and positive encouragement to get involved.

    I’m impressed.

  3. @Heat: I haven’t tried the PC version of the app, but as Tom said, the Mac release is pretty gorgeous.

  4. Tom– glad you like it.

    Heat– You’re correct that the Windows version is buggy as hell at this point, but we’re fixing it up. The Mac version doens’t have this problem, though it has some speed issues.

    I’m really interested in your comments about the UI. What do you think would be a more sensical way of organizing everything? Our main goals were: present the user with newly available videos and videos ready to watch, while preserving the idea of a “channel” prepared by the publisher.

  5. i feel like that navigation is generally bulky and impractical. the sidebar would be better suited in my opinion like this…

    channel guide
    unwatched videos
    saved videos
    watched videos (and its implied that eventually they will expire)
    (raw channel feeds. meaning: no weird grouping/hiding of old videos)
    active downloads

    i dont feel liek the individual channel’s options should be handled through (what looks like) an html interface. its strange. the search input should be actively available (to sort through any page a la itunes), otherwise its not necessary given the channel guide. i would get rid of the “add channel” and “options” buttons because theyre equally redundant.

    its also so absolutely bizarre the way any sort of available navigation is replaced by the video player. i understand its streamlined–but in a very cheap way. beneath the video, i feel like there should be an available “playlist”/navigation menu of other videos that its grouped with (depending on how it was selected)…

    i feel the programs main problem is responsiveness, but im sure with time everything will work out. im the one that submitted it to digg.com by the way so obviously ill be watching ;_)

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