Miro 4, an open source video player, has long been promising at least on paper as a means of sharing and watching open video. But the delivery in early versions was shaky, suffering from stability issues in some cases and simply failing to provide a compelling use case in others – particularly with browsers and other media players.

Miro 4 is largely about music, but that in itself is relevant to video producers. If Miro can be a compelling iTunes alternative – particularly on the Mac, where such choices are few – it could be an intriguing distribution outlet for visual producers as well as a handy tool in your own arsenal.

Miro 4 also looks profoundly more polished, usable, and stable than previous releases, including in its video functionality. It’s not just about consumption – the abilities to download, play, wirelessly share, and sync content definitely matter for anyone working with visuals. Android device owners will also appreciate expanded sync capabilities, without the lock-in generally associated with the iTunes/iOS combo. (I’m not being philosophical or anti-Apple here, either; I have an iPod touch and iPad, and some of the only features about them that usually make me swear loudly are the sync features. It gives me PalmPilot flashbacks.)

Miro has been active in the open video movement; it’s one of the few players that lets you convert and view H.264 and WebM, meaning you can target and test HTML5 video for any player, leaving the politics to someone else.

I love the simplicity of their current marketing. Now, I think it’s just a matter of us trying the thing, and if we do believe in it, advocating it to friends.

But as a visual tool, the ability to easily convert and playback video is already essential to Web-savvy visualists. I’ll have more thoughts once I get more time to play with it.