Monday, October 1, 2007

Peer-to-Peer Television

The founders of Skype have thrown their hat into the ring and brought us Joost, a peer-to-peer television network.

As Brad Stone mentions in the New York Times, an eclectic collection of content and the memory demands of the sharing software is an impediment. Nonetheless, the field is more crowded. Stone writes:

Joost offers an odd and incomplete mix of new shows (“CSI”, clips from “the Late Show,”) old ones (“Lassie”, “Babylon 5”), music videos and a truly random movie selection, among other stuff.

On Friday, I asked Joost CEO Mike Volpi, a former Cisco executive, where Joost fits into this crowded world of online video. “The reason to get Joost, is that, first of all you get a great visual experience. It’s high quality video, better than it was even six months ago,” he said.“We also have good content and an increasingly larger library. If you showed up as user six months ago, you saw a couple music videos and some old movies. Now we have a lot of good stuff and we are adding new content every day.”

Later in the conversation, he again referenced the state of the service six months ago, when addressing why a quality Internet TV experience needed to be separated from the rest of the Web. “I think it is certainly fair to say the application started with content being completely separate, but over the last six months, we have brought the Web and Joost closer and closer. And what you’ll see in next six months is the distinctions wearing even further. We can have a quality video experience because of the peer to peer network, and at the same time be nicely and tightly integrated with the rest of the Internet.”

This is not the Joost you saw in spring, Mr. Volpi seems to be saying. My guess: the company saw a wave of users trying out the service back then, many of whom, like me, didn’t stick around. They’ll have to bring us back if Joost is ever going roost.

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