Joost is a new online TV service and the brainchild of Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, who sold Skype to eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005.
I've taken the beta version for a spin this week and I have to say my initial impressions are very good. The service is described on the Joost website as follows:
Joost is a new way of watching TV on the internet. With Joost, you get all the things you love about TV, including a high-quality full-screen picture, hundreds of full-length shows and easy channel-flipping.
Joost is a good reflection of what I think everyones TV experience should be. That is an on-demand, user-centred service. Having to fit our lives with TV providers schedules is not the best approach. Interestingly, Joost allow "widgets" to be added to the experience that can be created by TV providers and users alike, examples are news feeds and instant messaging clients.
Where I would like to see Joost develop is in delivering an experience that goes above and beyond what we're used to from traditional TV. Seeing as one of the prerequisites is a fast internet connection I'd like to see more interactivity with the programmes I'm watching and an experience that fuses together the best elements of web browsing and TV into one.
The only problems I have with the Joost service is that it's somewhat at odds with most households home entertainment equipment. Very few people have a computer in their lounge at the moment. The other issue is high definition (HD), the service doesn't make any mention to this and I imagine over present internet connections it simply isn't possible. But I doubt these issues are causing the people behind Joost to lose any sleep as YouTube has shown that internet users are more and more accustomed to using their computers to watch TV so I have a feeling Joost will be a success.