About a week ago I got an email from Joost telling me I was admitted to another round of beta testers for this new, hip and so mucho buzzed internet TV thing these Dutchies have to offer.
TV over the net is one of the latest hypes going down lately with websites like YouTube, Blip.tv and Neave.tv. Democracy player gives it a shot open source style, using Bittorrent to download the videos to your hard drive and play them from there. But TV works so much better if you just have to zap to a channel and you get your content. Instant gratification. Lovely. A bit more bandwidth intensive of course, but hey, you can’t have it all I guess.
JoostTV offers just that. A slick, full screen smooth running piece of software where you select one of the -there’s no way I’m counting them all- available channels and click a program to watch. After a second or two and a splash of advertising you can sit back, sip a beer and enjoy the show.
Technologically Joost is nicely built. The interface is smooth, video and audio streams without glitches and the controls are intuitive. When you start the application after a previous viewing session, it remembers which program you where watching before and where you left off exactly in it, which is a sweet feature. More stuff a regular TV doesn’t have to offer you ask? Well, you can pause what’s playing (pretty basic), use a slider to position yourself in the current video (nice) and switch programs or items if what you see isn’t what you like (very nice). Quality of the videos shown can vary I’ve noticed, which probably depends on the content providers themselves, but is in all cases good enough to be enjoyable.
When it comes down to content there is a bit of everything. Music channels (the Ministry of Sound one is nice) movie, comedy, cartoon, some indy short movies, as I said, a bit of everything. I guess you need to check it out for yourself if you want to get a better idea of what they have to offer, since it’s just a bit too much to cover in a single blog post.
One thing JoostTV has in common with regular TV is the advertising, which is a pity. Money has to be made somehow of course, and ads are just a way of doing this without having people to pay for subscriptions. In most cases I’ve noticed the ads are limited to a single short splash screen before the program begins. For programs longer than a music video I’ve seen full ads in mid playback, interrupting the program, which sorta sucks. It sucks partly because it’s an ad of course, but also because at first I didn’t quite notice or expect an ad. I just thought it was part of the video first, until a makeup ad popped up I recognised from TV.
To sum things up, I think JoostTV has a future if they can keep their game up, and add some interesting content to the mix. Like some adult content for instance. They are Dutch after all, come on…
I also received a good 3 invites recently, so if you’re amoung the first to send me an email telling me my blog is the hottest thing since thongs where invented, you can expect an Joost invite yourself. Ain’t that sweet?