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Primetime with Joost beta April 14, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Reviews, Web Video.
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Joost has invited me to be a beta tester. Since my post about Joost, the latest 0.9.2 beta version is out and about among approved testers on a Mac. Yay!

As one who cheers the convergence of TV and the Net, I didn’t wait. Joost is supported by advertisements so it’s free. For free TV, there’s little not to like. It took me just three minutes to download Joost on my Powerbook G4, in between burning iPhotos of my Chamonix trip to a CD and updating a post on this blog.

Joost behaved real nicely, never crashing. After installation, I helped myself to the goodie emblems for this blog. Browsing the graphic user interface, I felt like a kid encountering TV for the first time, like back when I watched the first flickering black and white pictures with my dad.

The new beta offers an improved interface with redesigned controls to exploit OS X’s support for translucence.

joost32.png
Screen shot of prototype Joost main control panel

The full-screen interface is just like TV and nothing like YouTube. The idea with Joost is you start it up and watch. You can compress the screen in a window to watch the shows while doing other things on your computer.

There’s buffering time delay. One way to get around this is to play a show, pause, let it buffer while you do something else, then return to watch.

The videos stutter, but that’s because of my connection speed. Joost is peer-to-peer based, so instead of pulling videos from a central server, videos can be pulled from Joost locations near you. This speeds up the download.

The video quality is unlike the grainy clips I have endured on most Web 2.0 sites. Joost video quality is definitely better than most Internet video but can’t beat full screen TV – yet.

So far there are a few ads, but certainly fewer than old TV programming. That’s acceptable. Would you rather have Joost free with ads or pay to watch it?

There’s a range of channels but few big names. The channels like Green Day, Indy Car and Gaming are specific to the content. You can search shows by name or type, or simply flip channels.

They’ve done a good job with entertainment programming, especially for young users. Most of the channels listed aren’t working yet. Check out the TERRA videos I wrote about in this post.

Comedy Central
MTV
GameStar TV
IndieFlix Premier Hits
The Soccer Channel
PokerHeaven TV
Bite TV
Off the Fence Docs
Saturday Morning TV
Live @ Much
Guiness World Records TV
LX.TV
Lime
TERRA: The Nature of Our World
Braindead
JumpTV Arabia
Fifth Gear Shortcuts
Havoc Action Sports TV
What’s Popular
Warner Bros. Records
IndyCar Series
Lazy TV
National Geographic
Joost Suggests

There’s a simple chat interface through which you can access and IM your Google talk or Jabber contacts. Joost has integrated its own chat program so viewers can talk with others watching the same show. Should be fun. This social aspect of Joost will set it apart from other online video sources once out of beta.

409077827_6e027b2f844.jpg
Screenshot of prototype Joost pluggins

To really compete with TV, Joost needs plugins with its applications. Right now, the pluggins called widgets aren’t too thrilling. Clock, feed reader, notice board, ratings system and instant messaging are nice to have, but not critical. In any case, the Joost team are busy fine-tuning things. Stay tuned.

The Joost team are also behind the market disrupting platforms Kazaa and Skype. When the bugs are ironed out, this platform for TV on the Web will be just as disruptive. Joost is not expanding the beta test phase beyond a controlled number as user name and login are required for the client.

Before I sign off, here’s a bit of evangelising: check out a snapshot of the Joost screenshots. Watch the promo.

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Comments»

1. Daniel N. - April 15, 2007

Sounds great!!
I’ve been hearing alot about Joost. Many of the articles that I read have lots of praise and few criticisms for the new Beta release. I live in a desert community in southern California on the border with Mexico. I have been researching and writing about new technologies for our local newspaper, and would really like to try Joost . I would very much like to write from first hand experience using Joost. I would greatly appreciate an invitation. I will gladly send you a copy of the article once it’s done.

2. khengze - April 20, 2007

Hey Daniel, thanks, I look forward to your article. Sorry I don’t have any invites but you can actually sign up to be a beta tester. Joost is not expanding the beta test phase beyond a controlled number as user name and login are required for the client.

3. michiel - May 6, 2007

Isn’t Joost only for intel based macs>?

4. khengze - May 7, 2007

It runs on Windows and you’re right, Macs with Intel processors.


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