Joost: The Future of Television?

Recently entering the beta scene is a new undertaking by the founders of Kazaa and Skype. Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis have named this new venture, which focuses on Internet video, Joost. The program has been covered by Wired magazine, as well as Om Malik and TechCrunch, who recently announced a deal where Joost is “licensing hundreds of hours of programming from Viacom cable networks such as MTV, Comedy Central and Spike as well as movies made by the company’s Paramount studios.”

I’m lucky enough to have recieved an invitation to test Joost, and I’ve created a Flickr walkthrough of the application and some of its features.

The television-on-the-computer notion is not something brand new or deserving of a “revolutionary” title. YouTube is, of course, the primary example. Apple has the iTunes Store, and videos can be seenby either using the Apple TV or via a few cords. Other examples include the Democracy player, which has been in development for some time, and is slowly shaping up to be an excellent, reliable player that can search multitudes of sources of video. However, there are limitations with this type of set-up.

When watching video or using the computer, a user is faced with the battle for computer screen real estate. Choosing full-screen mode means that you choose to sacrifice your computer’s abilities in order to turn it into a video-playing device.

Joost brings to the table something exciting, however. seems to have a tools and communications widgets layer on top of the video layer:My Joost

As you can see from the picture on the left, instant message (Google Talk), ratings systems (“Rate It”) and RSS capabilities co-exist with television, blending computer power with a television experience.

I think this is a key differentiator between Joost and its competitors, and the new deal with Viacom certainly makes the product compelling.

I’m going to continue playing with Joost and I’ll be sure to post some additional thoughts very soon.

Be sure to sign up to be a beta tester of this one — it’s going to be a very interesting one to watch.

In the meantime, you can stay tuned for coverage here, or view my Flickr-based walkthrough of some of Joost’s features.

~ by Brad Levinson on February 26, 2007.

One Response to “Joost: The Future of Television?”

  1. […] covered the program around month back, saying that I was impressed with the way that it combines television viewing and widgets.  I was […]

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