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Non-Profit Tries To Simplify Internet TV

A non-profit group wants to make it easy for anyone to be an Internet-TV broadcaster.

The Participatory Culture Foundation, funded by technology celebrities Mitch Kapor and Andy Rappaport, has built open-source software for publishing video over the Internet using standard RSS feeds, and viewer software that includes the ability to subscribe to feeds and manage them.

Today, the PCF's publishing application, called the Broadcast Machine, runs on Windows and Mac operating systems, but the viewer piece, which uses Apple Computer Inc.'s QuickTime video player, is only available on the Mac. Next month, however, the group plans to release a version of its DTV viewer for the PC. The software will use an open-source viewer for Windows.

PCF is looking to provide the tools for people to deliver video in much the same way podcasters deliver audio today. Podcasting is the recording of non-music audio broadcasts, such as news, sports and commentary, in the MP3 format for playback on a portable media player, such as the popular Apple iPod.

Many newsreaders, which is software that aggregates RSS feeds from web pages, now support podcasts. Apple, for example, recently upgraded its iTunes desktop music player to enable people to subscribe to podcasts and download them to the iPod.

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