No, it’s not Al Gore’s newest cable channel. Democracy is a free, cross-platform internet TV player built on top of the VLC client, which ignores DRM and plays “anything it can get its paws on.” The development model and site is clearly based on the success of Firefox (getfirefox.com/getdemocracy.com, similar design). BitTorrent is built right in, so anyone can host an internet TV channel of their own without going broke over bandwidth.
Boing-Boing: The 0.9 release can tune in over 600 free channels being published by creative people all over the world. 0.9 adds support for Flash video, and comes (partially) translated into 30+ languages. It also supports drag-and-drop for individual video files, making it the only video player you need on your desktop.
The project comes out of the Participatory Culture Foundation, which aims to snatch TV itself from the hands of the man. Haven’t tried it yet, but Democracy appears to be well-polished even before 1.0, and is purportedly super easy to use, which is critical for those who don’t want to geek around with shadowy sites and BitTorrent clients.
Ironically / coincidentally, for hours now the front of the iTunes Music Store has displayed nothing but a black screen splashed with white words: “It’s Showtime,” which suggests a major change coming sometime today. Internet TV is starting to matter.