Joost is getting ready to launch out of beta and unleash themselves unto the masses. I participated in the beta, and I have to say that there are some good things that I think will result from Joost, but I think ultimately Joost will fall from favor within 12 months from their public launch.
First, the good: I would personally love to see a cross platform portal that makes my computer, whether it’s running Mac, Linux, or some other OS, into a television. To me, it just makes sense that someone who is *not* a cable or phone company design the interface for viewing, browsing, and managing media. I mean, have you *seen* the interfaces for doing this stuff from either Comcast or Verizon’s FiOS TV? They’re both horrible interfaces, barely a step up from an old green-screen, which is, I’m sure, what the workers of those companies are using to perform more tasks than they’d like to admit.
The Joost interface isn’t *wonderful* mind you. It’s chock full of mystery meat navigation elements, but even that is better than Verizon or Comcast, because Joost at least attempts to empower the user by putting lots of data and features close at hand.
In addition, I’d like to see the likes of Verizon and Comcast lose some of the control they have over the *content*. Sure, they’ll probably always have something to do with its delivery – most of the available mediums for delivering content are owned by either Comcast or Verizon – but neither company is particularly good at giving us anything other than the digital media version of the McDonald’s value menu. At least McDonald’s gives you the option of choosing a la carte (and being unceremoniously ripped off – still – at least it’s an *option*).
Now the bad: Joost’s image quality is complete crap. I’m not a digital media guru who can tell you all there is to know about the origin of the pixel or anything, but I know this: NBC, ABC, and CBS all have browser-based media players, and every one of them kicks Joost’s *ass* where picture quality is concerned. No contest. Further – it’s not unusual to see Joost video/audio fall *way* out of sync. Seriously, talking strictly from a media quality perspective, Joost isn’t a whole lot different from having a fat client interface to YouTube. One thing that absolutely amazed me is that Joost’s picture quality actually *stays* bad even if you exit full screen mode! It’s like they’ve done work to *insure* that the picture stays bad no matter what size the viewing window is!
I wonder if Joost is doing this on purpose during the beta so they can later justify charging us some outrageous amount of money to get some upgraded version of Joost “Now with acceptable resolution!” or something.
So, I’m glad that Joost has set a bare minimum benchmark that other competitors know they have to beat. I just wish they would’ve set the bar a bit higher.