Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]
Noow is a relatively new media player which aims to be far more than just that. The Windows-only app serves all of your video and audio needs, your podcast needs, your file conversion needs, and even to a certain extent your torrent needs.
The open source app is still in its early days but offers a wide variety of features, all wrapped up in a sleek UI that may have you ditching your trusted music and video players in exchange for Noow.
When installing Noow, be sure to choose Custom Install otherwise it will affect some of your default browser settings including changing your homepage and search engine.
Your local media can be played through Noow. When first installing the app, you can scan your hard drive for any media, or if you prefer, you can manually import your music and videos, or even watch a specific folder after you’ve installed Noow.
Your library will feature song titles, artists, the album, track length, and other details on each mp3. When playing a song, the album cover will be displayed if available.
As far as video playback is concerned, options include playing the video in full screen, and also supports subtitles. Best of all, the app resumes playback on videos which you stop in the middle, so you don’t have to struggle to figure out where you stopped when you’re watching a show and are interrupted.
Noow’s playlist feature supports both video and audio files, and playlists can combine both types of files in one.
Online video integration
Noow’s browser allows you to search for and watch YouTube videos, with the video site conveniently bookmarked in the menu. Not only can you watch videos, but you can also download them to your computer or open them in your browser. Along with YouTube, other video sources that are included by default in Noow are Hulu, PBS, YouTorrent and ClearBits. You can also add other sources of your choice, such as Vimeo and other video sharing sites. The download feature is, however, only available for certain sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, not for all sources that are included in the install.
Subscribing to and listening to podcasts using Noow couldn’t be easier. The app comes loaded with a variety of podcasts including TEDTalks and Lifehacker. You can remove, search for and add podcasts, as well as toggle auto-downloading on and off. If you’d rather not automatically download podcasts, you can manually select which episodes to download from each podcast you are subscribed to.
A pretty cool addition to the Noow’s features is the ability to convert files directly within the app. Both video and audio file conversion is supported by Noow, with supported file types including mp3, mp4 and ogg, as well as pre-set conversions for various iOS and Android devices.
Noow can also be used to search for torrents. One of the pre-loaded sources is YouTorrent, but you can add your preferred torrent sources to the sidebar in the same way you can for watching videos. In order to use the torrent feature on Noow you have to have a torrent client installed, to download the actual file.
This feature feels like it’s a little half-baked. When it comes to music, videos and podcasts, Noow can address all of the user’s needs without forcing you to turn to another application to complete the process. With torrents however, the fact that you can’t use the actual app to download torrents would probably make it the least used feature in the app.
If you do want to take advantage of what BitTorrent features exist in Noow now, the best way to do so is to use a client which allows you to automatically load torrents from a watched folder.
Noow is setting itself up to be an all-in-one media centre for online entertainment. It comes extremely close to achieving that but isn’t quite there yet. There are a few features that would need to be added for it to completely replace any other media players you are currently using. iPhone and iPad users will have to continue using iTunes to transfer media onto their iOS devices, and torrent users will have to continue downloading BitTorrents using a third party client.
That said, the rest of the features are solid. Video and audio playback, creating playlists, and keeping up with podcasts couldn’t be easier using the app. Ease of use is Noow’s strongest point, and as more features continue to be added, such as the ability to transfer files to media players, it will prove to be an indispensable media application.
Noow works on Windows XP, Vista and 7.
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