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Should Web video work like TV? March 19, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Trends.

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It’s clear the new Web video project Joost emulates TV. With the Internet slowly entering living rooms in 2007, what should video look like on the Web? Should it take TV’s lean-back-approach or the Web’s click-and-choose approach?

Joost now has a dozen “channels” offering anything from one to a dozen shows in the same series. There’s little news programming. Most programs are entertainment clips or music videos.

What’s good: The interactive features are brilliant. You can rate the channel you watch and chat with other viewers. You can search for videos and even make that search form a channel. Video is on demand so you can watch what you want when you want it. Individual videos contain descriptions.

What’s bad: Beyond interactivity and search, Joost’s resemblance to watching TV is evident. Something is immediately on when you start Joost. Shows are presented in their entirety, not sections. The user interface is not intuitive.It doesn’t seem to be possible to fast forward or move to points further along in the video. It gobbles up bandwith.

Screenshot of Joost’s channel navigation.

Navigation borrows from a TV-remote. For example you don’t close windows with the usual top-right corner X. Instead you press a standby symbol.

Screenshot of Joost’s program information display.

How will we use the computer to watch TV? Would you browse Web video and news online passively on lean-back TV?



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