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Joost, the next big step for video on demand?

Joost is a new video on demand internet application with the difference that it is free but is it actually worth using?
By: Lars Göran Nilsson | Editorials in HT & Movies | Posted: May 30, 2007 4:00 am

Joost, the next big step for video on demand?


There has been a lot of talk about video on demand for years now and so far there have been very few successful attempts at making this a widely available technology, mainly due to copyright issues and content rights management. But one of the main reasons video on demand has not taken off outside of the cable networks has been the lack of available bandwidth, as until fairly recently, most people relied on fairly slow internet connections, although this all changed when ADSL finally became a mainstream technology.


Today it is not unusual for many of us to have a connection at home that is at least 2Mbit or even faster and it does not cost a fortune. Websites such as YouTube have become immensely popular as people have been able to view video clips from all over the world, but this is still far from video on demand.


There are several TV channels in the US that offers streaming video versions of their TV shows, but these are only available to viewers located in the US. Similar things are happening in the UK and most likely in many other countries around the world, but it is still limited to viewers located in those countries. This is rather silly, considering that you can read news from news papers anywhere in the world; they are not limited to providing their content to local readers.



Enter Joost (pronounced Juiced), a peer to peer (P2P) program for streaming video over the internet, developed by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, the guys who originally developed Skype. The development into an invitation only Beta has gone incredibly fast, as the real development of Joost only started last year. Some 150 people have been working on getting Joost to the stage it is today and it already works incredibly well. As a video on demand service it still lacks a few things, mostly a wider array of programs, as the content is quite limited, although it depends what you are looking for.


If you are lucky, you have already got Joost, or maybe one of your friends can send you an invite. If not, then you should ask if someone has it and if they can give you an invite, well, at least as long as you have a broadband connection, with unlimited bandwidth. The one downside of programs like Joost would be for those that have metered internet access , since it does eat up quite a few megabytes of your monthly allowance.



However, this does of course depend on how many programs you watch and the quoted bandwidth usage is 320MB of downloaded content and 105MB of uploaded content per hour of viewing. The data will continue to be downloaded and uploaded even after you stop watching, as Joost shares what you have been watching due to its P2P nature. Having a fast enough connection is not too much of an issue, as it seems to work quite well even with limited bandwidth, although at least a 1Mbit connection is recommended.

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