When Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, founders of Skype and Kazaa, put their heads together the IT world gets rather excited, and now its latest project – Joost – has stepped out of beta testing.
For those living on another planet, or perhaps just enjoying a life outside of IT (shame on you), Joost is a potentially revolutionary Internet television service. It combines web broadcasts and actual channel content with online schedules and show information and promises to deliver it in full screen while setting new standards for streaming picture quality.
To date, nearly one 100 channels – ranging from the National Geographic and MTV to shorts like Warner Bros. Records and IndyCar Series – have signed up for the service. In time Joost also hopes to develop a community feel with users able to instant message one another (compatible with Gmail and Jabber) and developer kits being made available to enable the creation of third party widgets.
Perhaps best of all, however, it's free.
Unfortunately – amongst all this goodness is one catch (there always is) – and in this case the catch is that to download and begin using Joost you need to receive an invite from a registered beta tester. Thankfully, all beta testers have just been given unlimited invites so (in true Gmail style) the availability should spread pretty fast.
Unlike Skype and (at least initially) Kazaa, the success or failure of Joost may well rely on the content deals it can ink. Still, if the platform is good – and the track history is fantastic – this shouldn't be a problem.
Or as the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams kept telling us: "If you build it, they will come"... (darn, I hate quoting Kevin Costner movies).