How to Subscribe to TV Shows Using The Democracy Player, Bittorrent, and RSS

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The Democracy Player is an amazing open source Internet TV application that allows you to subscribe to video RSS feeds from anywhere on the web. The default feeds will keep you supplied with endless viral and music videos from del.icio.us, Videobomb, and Telemusicvison, but with a little hackery, The Democracy Player will make you wonder why you’re still paying your cable bill.

For quite some time, I’ve been using TVRss to download episodes of The Daily Show that I’ve missed. TVRss scours a couple Bittorrent sites for TV shows, and provides RSS feeds of any search result. For example, here’s the RSS feed for recent episodes of The Daily Show. I currently subscribe to this feed in NetNewsWire and download the new shows as they appear.

These RSS feeds don’t work with The Democracy Player just yet: the feeds simply link to the bittorrent file, but don’t include the critical enclosure element. But with a little help from Feedburner ‘s SmartCast service, feeds from TVRss can be plugged into The Democracy Player, effectively creating a Internet PVR.

Now that I’ve sufficiently bored you with the technical details, here’s the simple step-by-step:

How to Subscribe to TV Shows Using The Democracy Player & Bittorrent & RSS

  1. Download The Democracy Player
  2. Search for a show of your choice at TVRss
  3. Right click on the RSS/XML icon link and select Copy Link URL
  4. Go to Feedburner, and paste the URL into the text field on the home page, check the “I am a Podcaster!” box, and click next.
    1. If you don’t already have a Feedburner account, you’ll be prompted to create one
  5. Click “Next” to activate the feed
  6. Copy the URL of the feed provided by Feedburner (it should start with http://feeds.feedburner.com/)
  7. Open The Democracy Player, click “Add Channel”, and paste the URL of the feed into the field that appears
  8. Sleep. In the morning, you should have an episode of The Daily Show to watch!
  9. New episodes will automatically be downloaded as soon as they’re available on Bittorrent - I’ve found this to usually be a day after the show airs
  10. Enjoy!

In my mind, this is the future of video distribution. The technologies of Bittorrent and RSS perfectly compliment each other: Bittorrent downloads are much faster when concurrently downloaded by a large swarm. Notifying software programs of new Bittorrent files via RSS creates a swarm very quickly, resulting in faster downloads for everyone. The Democracy Player combines all of these technical elements with a pleasant UI, and great video management tools. The result is nothing short of spectacular.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch The Daily Show