Joost is a new approach to streaming video to computers from the folks who designed Skype. Skype was a business model revolution, a direct challenge to the telcos and long distance companies and the pay per minute cost of voice communications, and Joost has similar aims. It’s p2p powered streaming television that in effect works like a video on demand service. It also cleverly forces you to watch the advertising since you can’t quickly switch channels like you can on your television when the ads start. This is counterbalanced by the fact that you’re watching on your computer, so you can turn the volume down and your attention to something besides the ads while they play. They’re also promising to implement community building tools layered on top of the content, things like chat and so on, which will also help distract you from the ads. The first of these features have just started rolling out.
All in all it’s pretty slick, and they’ve been signing a lot of content deals with different providers. It’s main downside right now is that there’s not very much worth watching on it – it’s sort of a greatest hits of all the obscure cable channels you never watch in your 250 channel lineup right now, but lots more is coming.
If you want an invite let me know and tell me which email address to send it to, they’ve opened the floodgates and are starting to let many users in. Joost works on macs or pcs and is free for the download.