Friday, April 6, 2007

Joost - A review

A review of Joost was long time coming. I had posted earlier on how it could revolutionize the way couch potatoes sit on couches and the way it could change the whole ratings system and TV programming in general. Last week I got an invite after a really, really long time to test the beta version.

Okay, so first the positives.

Joost has a menu with channels like MTV and Comedy Central that you can browse through. The interface was very user friendly and intuitive. I was greatly impressed with its picture quality. It also tries to bring in social networking. Yeah, I know. I did post something earlier, on my frustrations with the rapidly growing number of social networks, but all such reservations can bite the dust when it comes to deal with networking for discussing TV shows! Here there is a chat window widget where you can talk to another 'friend' about the show or even recommend a show that you liked to another person. There are so many other widgets of that kind and one might suspect in the future there might even be an open source community churning out more such widgets to make the viewing experience all the more enjoyable. Another positive is the duration of the ads (or should we say, the lack of them) A small 5-10 second clip/picture shows that this show is sponsored by so and so. And that is the end of it. Although I believe, once it gets opened to public, the ad slots will increase and yet remain well under television ad time.

Now on to, what I believe are, some negatives. First of all, the software is not for lightweight machines. I was shocked during installation when it said that it may not run properly on my system as it requires 512 MB of RAM, and my system (although officially 512 MB) had 502 MB on it at that time. Anyhow, it ran smoothly without any major hiccups, but I seriously doubt if I'll be able to have a chat window and a tab-ridden Firefox window opened at the same time. I wonder why it would require so much of RAM anyway. The other issue, as is with most P2P networks is that, it is a bandwidth killer. It will chew up all your bandwidth and the ISPs have a potential long term problem at hand if Joost makes it big. The other two negatives are (at the risk of trying to sound like nitpicking) poor program choice and slow streaming. The poor programming part is down to the deals they make with the networks although it's unforgivable having Comedy Central that does not show The Daily Show, or Colbert Report, or South Park. Plus all the programs currently streamed are recorded ones, and in the beta stage they should have at least had a test channel streaming live content. The streams were pretty slow and buffered too often. I am not sure if it's a problem with my connection, but I can stream content off peer-to-peer streaming softwares like Sopcast without major issues. I will put that down to the relatively low number of peers at the moment.

However the future looks good. The possibilities are mouthwatering. There is also this chance for those pilot TV shows that may have been good but got rejected by the major networks or indie directors of low budget TV shows wanting a platform. The shows can have a viral effect (like Youtube videos have) and ratings can be accurately determined from user profiles so that customized content and advertising could be provided.

I am not sure if it will necessarily kill cable TV in the near future, but it sure will be the next big killer app. Already we have some copycats springing up. The couch potato that I am, my irresistible quest for more television continues as I signed up to beta test Babelgum

Till then I have some coursework to catch up with!


  1. Nice review. if you have some invite please send me one, thanks in advance.

  2. [Patrix]
    Popular content will be key. Hopefully the network execs bend over and see the wisdom in that. Till then, long live Peekvid and Dailymotion.
    I don't have one at the moment. But will let you know when I get one.

  3. Piker, good review. Thought that the three shows were on thru Joost. Anyway, am still searching for a Joost invitation. Came to your blog through Patrix'. If you have any invitations left, please keep me in mind. Thanks.

  4. [Arvind]
    I don't have any invites as of now. Will keep you in mind when I get some. :)

  5. The Piker, in your irresistible quest for more television channels, i think the answer to search may be found at

    It's an online free internet tv service with a good interface / very user friendly and intuitive. Also, i think they monitor the channel quality so all the channels are decent. I like this one cause it's live not just VOD, plus no installation needed and there's some good social networking tools, which from reading their forum seems, i reckon they will be developing many more goodies. Cheers, Statix