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Print 6 comment(s) - last by Screwballl.. on Oct 9 at 10:20 PM

Joost 1.0, say hello to the world

The Joost Internet TV service is now available as Joost Beta 1.0, open to anyone who wants to test the service.  

After Viacom announced it would begin working with Joost last February, people not familiar with ITV began to realize that the technology could be worth paying attention to over the next couple of years.

Created by the founders of Skype, Joost currently offers over 15,000 shows for free viewing via peer-to-peer technology.  The player looks best in full screen mode, maximizing dark space to highlight color.  Video quality is very striking to those used to the grainy blocks seen on user generated sites like YouTube.  Although there are other internet TV sites, such as Revision3, that boast similar quality, the volume of content and ease of navigation are unparalleled in my experience.

That is as long as the program is running smoothly, which it does much more consistently then in the past.  During the invite-only beta stages, stability and content access were frequently shaky.  Switching between programs, or surfing for new shows while the old one continues in the background always seemed to invite long snags in playback and navigation.  This was particularly frustrating as being able to navigate while viewing a program in the background is one of Joost’s best features that gives it a “just like cable” feel.
 
These problems have been greatly alleviated with Beta 1.0, though I do still experience the occasional hitch in a video.  It will freeze for a split second and then start up again without any of the crashing I experienced in earlier stages.  

The biggest difference users will likely experience is the overhauled user interface that offers better menu windows and larger icons and fonts.  "Invite Friends," "Blog This" and "User Profile" buttons have been added to the latest addition of the program.  

Joost has really cleaned up its Explore feature as well.  You can search for programs either by category, channel, or text search.  This last function is an important feature that still needs some work.  Some of my favorite shows, such as “Ghost in the Shell” (GIS), are not located in any pre-packaged channel and must be found and added to a custom channel via text search.  The problem is a slight misspelling or error in the title will often yield an empty search result.  For example, a search for “Eureka 7” instead of “Eureka Seven” will yield no results.  

Aside from hiccups in playback and stingy searching, the main flaw with Joost is still lack of content.  Even with 15,000 shows available, the service does not seem to follow any one series in its entirety or even through a single season.  For example, only three of the dozens of GIS episodes are available on Joost.

Neither is there live or recent content - in other words no current news.  An exploration of CNN’s Joost channel reveals only special investigations.  If Joost wants to become the final destination for program viewing they need to vertically expand program content as well as provide live programming.

With the Major League Baseball post season officially underway, Joost has taken a step in the right direction and now offers the MLB.com Daily Rewind, which is a half-hour show of highlights from all of the games.  It is likely more of the mainstream sports will also provide highlights for users to view.   

Joost promises to keep innovation and content partnerships coming in the future, which is exactly what the company needs to do to keep snapping up new ITV users.

And one more thing, the Muse video “Knights of Cydonia” may just be the raddest thing I have ever seen.  

If you haven't already tried it out, we strongly recommend giving Joost 1.0 a quick test run.  The program works with Microsoft XP and Apple OSX, but a Linux edition is currently in development.


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Microsoft and Apple
By oTAL on 10/8/2007 12:58:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The program works with Microsoft and Apple


By Apple and MS you probably mention their respective mainstream OSs (XP and OSX).
I don't want to nitpick but those are huge companies with loads of software and platforms. It would be nice to know if it is compatible with Vista, or Win 2000. Also, some mac users may like to know if it works on PowerPC macs or only on x86.

Obviously one can always use Google to find that out pretty quickly, but if you're going to mention compatibility it would be cool to have a clearer picture. ;)

Nice article BTW.




RE: Microsoft and Apple
By Michael Hoffman on 10/8/2007 2:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
oTAL, completely forgot to add the operating systems Joost works on, but they have been added now.


RE: Microsoft and Apple
By fk49 on 10/8/2007 4:48:23 PM , Rating: 2
FYI I'm on Vista 64-bit and have been running Joost fine for months now


RE: Microsoft and Apple
By Andrew Campbell on 10/9/2007 12:40:34 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the feedback oTAL.


ITV
By Isandunk on 10/9/2007 11:09:13 AM , Rating: 2
In the UK (as you're probably well aware) ITV is a "public service network of British Commerical Television" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITV) . If you could just add what you mean by ITV, as it had me scratching for a while.

Cheers




my pennies
By Screwballl on 10/9/2007 10:20:44 PM , Rating: 2
I have used it for several days now myself and so far it is hit and miss.
It would not even run on my decently spec'd XP3000+ Barton, 1.5GB PC3200, 128MB 9600XT but it seems to be more of a program error than system related error. It took 2 reinstalls to get it running on my E6600/2GB DDR2/X1950GT (in both cases, they have XP Pro SP2).
I have watched every single episode of Babylon5 available and it seems they cover almost all the first season shows and 3-4 second season shows and it just stops. In some cases it looked as if the encoding process was buggy because it was either widescreen squished to 4:3 or some other issue like jerky video as if it was done to keep in sync with the video. this was only the case on 3-4 of the episodes, the rest were fine.
Watching other videos that are not on the "Featured" channels listing seem to have stuttering issues depending on the time of day. The news based shows do not but other lesser watched channels do. It does seem to not be as "stuttery" on sci-fi based shows as well. Maybe its the tech nature of those currently using this software + the P2P based usage of this program.
Otherwise some shows look great in widescreen when using the "V" button for full screen, even if it is encoded in 4:3.




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