For the past couple weeks I have been beta testing Joost. For those that don't know, Joost is a new web venture that puts on demand video on the web. The service is free, and paid for by advertising that is interspersed within the shows you watch. The grand plan for Joost seems very cool. On Demand television without paying the cable company. Let's see how well that plan is doing in my short review. ...
Joost is currently in an invitation only beta, though as of this week all users now have unlimited invitations, so take everything I say with the knowledge that things may change.
Joost is pretty nice system. It opens up in full screen mode when you first start it up. It seems more like a media center than a program running on your computer right away. The first thing that loaded up for me was a "Channel" of Joost recommendations so that I could get started. I had read on the Joost website that the "Fight Network" channel had Ring of Honor wrestling so I went to check that out first. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have any ROH material up so that was disappointing. Someone had told me about the show "Stella" on Comedy Central so I went to check that out. This was available and I got a chance to watch a whole show.
When I first started watching shows the commercials would jump in at random points, sometimes in the middle of a sentence. Since the latest upgrade it seems that has changed, the commercials now seem to come in at natural points in the shows.
Currently the Joost system is pretty basic. It allows you to watch shows from channels you select and it pretty decent quality as well. They also have a "My Joost" section that has some widgets for you to have up while you watch your shows. The selection of widgets is small right now but I have heard that they will be increasing the number of widgets and allowing others to make widgets. However, when I watch a show I don't need to be doing much else, especially with video on demand.
Once in a while I would run into a glitch or two. Sometimes I would just get disconnected from the network or the show would stop and go to the next in the list. However, these are minor inconveniences as you can easily get right back to what you were watching. The biggest problem I saw with Joost is the current availability of programs. What they have is pretty limited, but this is just beta. They have made deals with CBS and recently on their blog I read that they made a deal with Turner Broadcasting Systems. Content is on their way but will it be any good?
In conclusion I think the system is pretty sound for a beta product and will only get better as they increase the numbers of users. The only downfall for this system might be lack of quality content. At home, I only have very limited cable so that the network stations come in clearly. I don't really need cable because their really isn't that much to watch. That is why a system like Joost could be very good with the right content. I would love to be able to watch wrestling, the only thing I really miss from cable, and would love to be able to watch it on my schedule rather than it's broadcast schedule without having to pay for extra stuff.
By the way, if you'd like an invite just let me know. I am more than happy to let my friends and relations check out this new system.