Joost To Unseat iTunes and Unbox
So yesterday I downloaded Joost and I have to say that I am quite impressed. The name doesn't mean much and is a strange pun for an IPTV service, but from what I have seen so far, it could be the holy-grail of IPTV that I have been looking for.
The first question I had was great, so when are they going to charge for this, but from what I can see, that question may not be relevant. It appears they are experimenting with ad-delivery in two forms, interrupting the content, commercial style, and with a little unobtrusive, movable ad-window in the lower left. I have to say I am much more inclined to interact with the latter.
The ads were unobtrusive, and the way the program minimizes itself while you are interacting with the ad so that you don't miss anything is simple, but brilliant. In fact, everything about the way Joost interacts with the web is brilliant.
I am looking forward to them opening up some sort of SDK for developers to make widgets that overlay the TV interface, but I'd imagine that when they do it will be Firefox plugin based, since they are using XULRunner to do something, I'm not sure what.
The content selection is varied, balancing commercial content with indie content. I was really happy to see so many commercial content providers embracing this technology. I could easily see myself not ever watching traditional TV anymore at all. You can stop, rewind, fast-forward, and skip content at will. The adult swim content is sweet. The video quality is good / OK. I haven't seen any high-def content on there, so if you have a big monitor and go full-screen, you are going to have come pixelation, but it isn't bad at all.
It can truly replace your need for Windows MCE, unless you have a ton of your own content you want to watch. The contrast is great, and the UI is super intuitive.
The best and probably coolest feature is the channel context chat that is implemented. I suppose you will be able to chat with others watching the same program as you are. It also has widgets for RSS feed readers, integration with popular blogs, etc…
Loading was really quick for most shows, and since I like things like “Bad Boy TV,” and watching videos, it really works for me. So, its great, but what are the negatives?
Well, it doesn't allow you to take content onto your iPhone / iPod which is a drawback. I'd probably suggest allowing downloads of ad-embedded “commercial-style” content for the iPhone / iPod / Zune, etc… and the popup style advertising for viewing on your computer at home. Another issue is the lack of support for Blogger integration. Perhaps this should work, but it doesn't right now.
All in all, this is a beta service, and I love the fact that it supports the Mac out of the box. It utilizes Direct X 9c on the PC, and in my opinion, at least on the PC, provides a better windowing environment than Windows. All-in-all, Capitol job all around. Hats off to CBS for embracing new technology the way they are.