While I was in Davos, I got to meet Niklas Zennstrom, the founder of Skype. Somehow he neglected to mention that he was about to revolutionize TV. Later on in the conference, I heard rumors about Joost, his new service, but unfortunately I couldn't ask Niklas for a beta invite. It would help if remembered who I was along with other couple thousand people clambering around Davos.
The buzz is that Joost is the future of TV. I signed up for the Joost beta a couple of weeks after I returned and I got the download notice in my inbox two weeks ago. I finally have managed to download the beta today.
After a couple of sputtering starts on our home 5Mb DSL line, the thing finally got going. At first I thought this is not going to work as the image started and stopped, but when it did get going it was presenting me with near DVD quality images on my PC. I hear they have a new proprietary compression algorithm, but the image and sound are pretty good.
You are first confronted with a user interface for selecting channels of information. Since I live in the UK, I don't think I have heard of any of the channels or the programs on the channels, but I understand that they are signing up some pretty amazing media deals.
From these channels, you can select specific programs to watch on demand.
Once you start watching, you get a full screen viewing experience by default. It is absolutely nothing like YouTube. It is full screen with all the normal controls that you would expect.
While you are watching, you can access a set of widget for adding comments or instant messaging a friend. If they open up the platform the way that Skype has, you can imagine all sorts of widgets being created for searching for related shows, looking up references to and from the show, historical references or simulcasting your own commentary and voice over.
One thing you should watch out for. As soon as I downloaded this, I started taking screen shots. I live in the UK, so I don't know anything about a series called Total Recall 2070, but it looked interesting. After taking this screen shot, the couple take their clothes off and start getting it on when my wife walks in. I am only talking about the first few minutes of the program. I have to explain that I am doing this in the name of research! It could probably use some sort rating on the programs, at least while I am trying it out at home and not in the office.
Anyway, I have no more invitations
for 3 friends to invite to the Joost beta. Please let me know if you are interested.