RSS is Really Simple Syndication - a standard format used by websites to package information for other websites to suck in updated information on a regular basis. Where information is packaged in the same way by a group of websites using RSS, simple reader software can show information from a number of websites in the same list or database. At the moment RSS is used mainly by news websites and blogs, but it's becoming increasingly common for other information types, including video.
The following is from the article Openness matter.
With video RSS and BitTorrent
support you can deliver HD quality videos that simply can't be streamed on the web. For well-produced content or more thoughtful video, TV quality or higher resolution means people will actually want to lean back and watch a show. Anything longer than a 5 minute clip starts to gets tedious in a web page.
The beauty of an open standard like video RSS is that you make it once and it works with any feed reader. Any feed that works in iTunes (a "video podcast") will also work in Miro and other RSS players.
As TV moves online, we have a chance to make a system that's more open and democratic than ever. There's no reason that internet TV should continue to be controlled by a small number of corporations. We can do a lot better. A video RSS feed gives you the freedom to use any video hosting setup and gives your viewers the freedom to watch your videos from any video RSS reader.
As a video producer imagine publishing your video in a way that not only appears in the Podcast players of user so they can subscribe to your video podcast, but also website hosts can re-use and republish automatically. This gives you the potential for it to appear on hundreds or thousands of sites after you upload it to only one place.
As a website creator imagine being able to display Videos on your site created by a certain group, or on a certain subject. Imagine that every day they appear in a moderation queue for you to approve or reject. You can recatagorise them to appear in different sections of your site. Or if you trust the source they appear on your site where you want them automatically.
Once we get started, the possibilities are endless! And the start of this process is making it all work with RSS feeds with enclosures.
So, what we want you to do now is to create RSS feeds of your video information.
Ideally you will use a video upload system that automatically creates a Media RSS feed for you. For example the Video or Audio modules of Drupal. But it may be that you already have a database system with information on your videos and the best short term solution is to write a en extra bit of code to create a Media RSS feed. This really shouldn't be too difficult.
If you are asking the question can I easily create a RSS 2.0 feed. Then the answer is that if you have, in a web database, details of the URL of downloadable video and preferably information about it's length and filesize etc, then it is probably quite easy. If not, you'll have to enter that information somehow, ie create new fields in your database, and that might get more complicated.
Here are some tips to create a valid RSS 2 file with enclosures
There are a lot of different feeds you can create. The one that's probably safest for compatibility is a RSS 2.0 feed with media enclosures and Media RSS elements from Yahoo Media RSS reccomendations.
The RSS 2.0 and Media RSS specifications are linked to from the Miro dev project pages https://develop.participatoryculture.org/trac/democracy/wiki/RSSFeedSpecs
It is really a matter of creating a text file with the right format of data. This rss file will include details of the location of your downloadable video.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<title>EngageMedia Featured Videos Channel</title>
<description>Videos featured by the EngageMedia team</description>
<generator>Plone + Plumi (www.plumi.org)</generator>
<title>The Castle on the Sand</title>
<description>Graham has built the most fantastic castle on the beach but the tides's rising... and he's not going to give up without a fight. A short-fiction-comedy tackling climate change and a rather uncanny response to a warming planet.</description>
<pubDate>Mon, 24 Sep 2007 04:47:01 +0000</pubDate>
<media:thumbnail width="50" height="50"
So while it is possible to write a RSS file by hand, in a word processing program and put it online, it is more likely to pull that information out of a database. For this part you really do need to get a geek to help you.
However if you are an amateur coder you can do it. Use a php resource to help you like http://phpbuilder.com
. These sites are great for troubleshooting if you get into trouble.
Testing with Miro
To test it you should use the miro application http://getmiro.com
This is a player that reads Media RSS feed and RSS 2.0 feeds with enclosures.
To add your RSS as a Channel on miro
Just click on Add Channel and put in the location of you RSS feed.
Testing with Feed validator
This resource is also helpful in testing the details of your feed
However Feed Validator doesn't support the <media: > tags needed by Yahoo Media Rss feeds, so you can ignore those warnings.
Testing with iTunes
While there is a separate RSS specification specifically for iTunes, it should be able to read any valid feed with enclosures. So it's also good to check if iTunes can read your feed when you add it as a Podcast.