01.17.2005 08:00 AM
New software makes video searches easier


Videora includes an easy-to-use interface for non-technical users.
Locating video content on the Web can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Now a new software application combining BitTorrent and RSS could make it easier for non-technical users to locate video files and download them to their computers, Wired News reported.

Sajeeth Cherian, a 20-year-old communications engineering student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, got the idea for the application, called Videora, after observing the trouble his roommate went through to find and download a file off the Internet. He thought there ought to be an easier way.

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file-sharing application that enables fast downloads of large data files. When a person downloads a video, for instance, the data arrives in chunks from different users, resulting in a faster download. RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a mechanism used by sites to automatically distribute their content — like headlines, links or video — to subscribers’ computers. RSS subscribers choose what kind of information they would like to receive.

Videora puts together an easy-to-use interface so users don’t have to worry about such details. Once a person downloads the application, the program automatically installs BitTorrent and downloads the RSS feeds. Then, users simply type in the title or keyword for a “series” they want to record, like amateur tsunami videos, for instance.

The request can be added to a want list, and the user can download any tsunami videos located by double-clicking the file. Or, a person can add the tsunami request to season tickets and the program will automatically download any tsunami video.

Cherian said they extract the BitTorrent link from the RSS feed, and if the title matches what you are looking for, it starts downloading the BitTorrent file from the RSS link.

When the search is submitted, the request goes to the open-source Videora server that includes an index of tracker Web sites — which point users to locations where digital music and movie files can be found — with RSS feeds. Anyone can contribute to the database, Cherian said.

Cherian developed the source code and then set it free; he has no control over the content. The site, at www.videora.com/ launched at the end of December. Users can download a free trial of the Videora application or pay $23 for a version with additional features.

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