A new suite of free and open tools let you watch TV, make TV, and recommend TV in a way that's easier, cheaper and more accessible than ever before. Democracy is a new Internet TV viewer that combines RSS (so you can pull a "channel" of programming), BitTorrent (so you can download TV from indie producers without gonking their site by sucking down all their bandwidth) and VLC, a multi-format player (so you can watch video no matter how it's encoded). Combine that with Broadcast Machine, a simple tool for publishing channels of video, and Videobomb, a social video service a little like Digg or delicious, and you've got a tremendously exciting development in democratic access to media.
Democracy has been available in beta for the Mac for months, but as of today, Windows users can play along too (the Linux player is just a little ways behind).
The experience of Democracy is great. Fire it up, pick some channels, and leave it running. Flip to it whenever you want to watch your video -- it's as easy as turning on a TV, but you can recommend the videos you like to your friends, make channels of them and save them.
What's more, you can hack the player, the publisher, all of it -- it's all free, open source software that's ready for your code contributions.
Democracy strikes the same balance that great free software tools like Firefox achieve: an elegant, simple tool for everyone to use; a powerful, active developer community that anyone can hack in. Link (Disclosure: I am proud to serve as a volunteer on the Board of Directors for the Participatory Culture Foundation, the nonprofit that created Democracy)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.