Joost launches — will anyone care?

by Mathew on October 1, 2007 · 7 comments

So Joost says that it is now finally open to the public (Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee and Kara Swisher at BoomTown have the details, including interviews with CEO Mike Volpi), after a long beta program that started as invitation-only. But the streaming peer-to-peer TV project from the guys behind Kazaa and Skype — Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom — has effectively been open for some time now. Although it took an invitation, anyone who was a beta tester had unlimited numbers of them.

joost500×375.jpgI have to admit that some of my enthusiasm for and interest in Joost has waned since I took part in the early beta, invitations for which were in hot demand (I wrote a piece about Joost for the Globe awhile back, which I cross-posted here). I kept up with the beta updates for awhile, but then gradually lost interest. Why? A bunch of reasons. The player is a resource hog, for one thing. But mostly it was the content. I didn’t mind checking it out now and then, but there was nothing compelling. As far as I can tell, Joost still hasn’t solved that problem.

One of the interesting things that Joost promised, but hasn’t really done anything with so far, is the ability for developers to use the Joost API to add widgets of various kinds, as Liz describes in her post. Apart from great content, this seems like the killer feature to me — ways to build in social networking (other than just chat) that can pull people in and make them want to use the thing. So far that appeal is missing, at least for me, although MG Siegler at ParisLemon still thinks that Joost is da bomb.

  • http://danbri.org/ Dan Brickley

    Hi

    Details of the Joost Widget API are available via http://www.joost.com/forums/p/2007/08/widget-api/

  • Mathew

    Thanks, Dan.

  • http://scrawledinwax.com Nav

    I think that Joost is better in the States, where they have signed content deals with more interesting partners. We in Canada seem to be getting shafted a bit as there isn’t really anything compelling to watch. While I think the premise behind Joost is solid, until I can load it up and, at the very least, watch reruns of some good sitcoms or older films, its promise will remain just that.

  • Mathew

    I agree, Nav. I thought the same thing.

  • http://www.parislemon.com MG Siegler

    Ha ha, I don’t know if I’d say “Da Bomb” – I’ll leave that for Kriss Kross, but I do see Joost as a very strong early entrant in the IPTV sphere.

    Like you mention, content is the single most important thing obviously and while it may still be lacking in Canada, it is getting much stronger in the U.S. even since I started beta testing in early March.

    I’m just so sick of getting shafted by the cable companies over the years who shove hundreds of channels down your throat (and of course force you to pay for them) when you only really want a handful. I had basically stopped watching television before the advent of the DVR, and now that is pretty much the only way I watch (other than sports).

    The quality debate that will inevitably start should be interesting – obviously with the broadband situation in this part of the world, I don’t think we’ll be getting streaming HD content anytime soon. But I do think the quality of Joost is pretty good – especially for something that is free.

  • Mathew

    I agree that content is the issue, MG — and I don’t want to rule Joost out by any means. Maybe it’s just natural to have a bit of a reality check after all the hype. Thanks for the comment.

  • robert

    Yeah, i hate the whole “oh we have the licenses for nunavut, oh you can’t watch that outside the city limits of Calgary while wearing a red hat.

    Antiquated licensing, and they wonder why everyone downloads!

    Oh, because it’s free..nevermind ;)

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