Digital Culture



So I managed to convince a friend to get me into the Joost beta. Joost is the Interweb video project formerly known as The Venice Project from the developers who brought the world both Kazaa and Skype. They clearly know their stuff, and Joost has some interesting things going for it.



  • Licensed content.
  • They currently have deals with just a few producers of significance, the biggest being MTV.
  • Great technology: the video is smooth, but the quality is a little low…less than broadcast TV.
  • Meta-information: there are TONS of meta-informational widgets you can add and interact with while the video is running…this is one of the killer parts of the service. IM and other widgets while you watch is very nice.


  • Can’t save videos locally (that will change in hours, I’m guessing, as soon as it launches, whether they want it to or not)
  • Closed system: no way to add videos yourself, and you can bet that since they are licensing stuff that will be difficult to change
  • No killer content: there’s nothing here you can’t get somewhere else on the net, usually in a higher quality

The interesting thing about Joost is that it will be much, much better than television in execution. Channels you choose, playing content you want when you want it, for free. The problem with this is, of course, TV has already lost…Joost has to compete with bittorrents of nearly everything ever put to video or audio, YouTube, and new forms of entertainment like ARGs and Second Life. It might become better than TV, but that’s a little like saying that the telegraph is better than the Pony Express. Neither really matters anymore. I look forward to what they have up their sleeve, but I’m cautiously calling this a yawn so far.

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