Joost and Web 2.0

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Joost.com is a social networking site that allows you to watch TV shows, videos, and movies with your friends. Joost allows you to search for videos online or watch what someone else has suggested that you watch. Joost.com was invented by the same people who brought you Skype and Kazaa. Joost is the first broadcast quality Internet television service. Unfortunately, Joost has been sold and has laid off tons of its staff. Is Joost.com the wave of the future?

How does Joost Work

Joost features a proprietary video plugin. Joost uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.  This means that you don’t pull the video from one specific source, but you pull bits of the video from the other peers who are on Joost. [1] A user should just click a video to start playing the video. It turns a PC into an instant on-demand TV without any need for an additional set-up box. [2] The Joost client has built in person-to-person file sharing. This means that Joost has lower bandwidth bills. It also means that Joost doesn’t need to worry about overloading servers while showing live events – users can just grab the stream from others automatically.[3]

Joost Programming and Web 2.0 Applications

Joost does use php and javascript programming to operate a peer-to-peer streaming video network. In 2007 and 2008, Joost used a peer-to-peer TV technology to distribute content to their Mozilla-based desktop player. This player later became Flash-based instead. Joost used a team of 150 software developers.  Discussion forums, show ratings, and multi-user chat sessions are all operated through semi-transparent widget overlays. These are often linked through the active stream or channel.[2]

Wikipedia describes the technology of Joost as “The current version of the software is based on XULRunner and the audio management re-uses the ZAP Media Kit. The peer to peer layer for on-demand video comes from the Joltid company, which also provided the peer to peer layer of Skype. A peer to peer layer for live video was developed from scratch, with a first trial run broadcasting March Madness 2008[3]. The video playback utilizes the CoreCodec, CoreAVCH.264 video decoder.”

Joost’s Future

Joost has announced that they’re discontinuing the software application altogether, but haven’t explained why. Hulu is much more successful, and, in my opinion, offers better quality programming. Broadstuff.com describes is like so: “Joost doesn’t offer anything particularly unique or compelling to users over competing sites with proprietary content (Hulu with Fox and NBC, TV.com with CBS).” [3] Joost.com dropped its consumer service, cut jobs, and lost its chief executive as it prepared to sell itself to the Adconion Media Group, an online advertising and marketing company. [4]

My Experience with Joost.com

Joost.com has no reception problems that I encountered. The programming does seem to be more like independent programs or movies, much like the Sundance channel. I would call it independent television. There were no commercials, either. This would be a nice addition to television. Sort of like YouTube.com.  I did preview the groups on Joost.com, but out of two “What We’re Viewing” links, both links did not work. I like Joost, but I think it could benefit from some added feature needed to make the site more accessible. For instance, it might catch on at a later time given that Facebook and other social networking sites will develop and expand.  If the program could be integrated into Facebook, and I could view my friend’s favorites, then I would more likely view television from the site. I think that this can be done, but hasn’t been done by my friends, yet. Joost, although currently struggling, may catch on in the future, and who knows where Adconion plans to take Joost?

References:

  1. “VIACOM TO BE KEY CONTENT PARTNER WITH JOOST™”. etopiamedia.net. 01/24/2010.
  2. “Joost”. Wikipedia.org. 01/24/2010 .
  3. Alan , Patrick. “The beginning of the end of Joost?”. TechCrunch. 01/24/2010 .
  4. Cyrus, Sanati. “Joost Sells Most of Its Assets to Adconion”. The New York Times. 01/24/2010.
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