I have to admit, I’ve had a Joost (formerly The Venice Project) invite for months now, and just in the past week — seeing the huge hype behind the project and people’s cry for invitations — have I gone ahead and have been trying it out. Joost is basically the Skype founder’s latest gig. It’s an application which enables you to watch TV, the same way you do regularly, on your computer through the Internet.
Something that strikes when you first open Joost is how simple and seemless they have created it. When you start it up, you don’t see any long splash pages or registration forms. All you have to do is provide it with your beta user info the first time you login, accept the NDA (which I’m still not sure if I’m breaking or not by this post! Although, others have written about it so I can’t see why I can’t), and you’re good to go. What’s the first thing you see? An actual video (of course, you have to be connected to the Internet when you open it up).
Of course, you wouldn’t have the ‘next-gen Internet TV’ phrase associated with you and work like traditional TV, so Joost is fully an on-demand content provider. Browse through its channels, search for your kind of a documentary (i.e. Sharks), and you’ll be playing that selection within minutes. What’s also great is that Joost is currently a free ad-supported service. You will see ads once in a while, but instead of one of those ‘traditional’ breaks lasting up to 5 minutes, ads on Joost last well under a minute. Two current prominent advertisers include Wrigley’s and T-Mobile. Oh, did I mention? You can pause, play, and fast-forward/rewind programming at any given time.
Another thing I love about Joost is its UI. It almost seems as if you are using an Apple product or say a program like Google’s Picasa. Smooth and seemless transitions, eye-candy visuals, the whole package. It’s one of those things which you have to see to believe. Additionally, Joost is just as well on the functioning side. Getting used to its look and feel in the first 15 or so minutes, I could trust it to not malfunction or return any errors when I’m doing something. It just works.
Overall, Joost is some pretty exciting stuff. Of course, the current selection of content is only a fraction of what they will in the next few months, but some well-made documentaries and MTV-like programming should keep users interested for now. I’ll be very keenly keeping track of Joost for the past few months — this is one project with a future.