Thursday, January 18, 2007

Joost and The Venice Project Beta Testing

I signed up for TVP's beta program a month or two ago, and got accepted recently, so I've been playing with it. A few days ago they launched under the name Joost, which I find amusing since I have a very good Dutch friend called Joost (pronounced yoast) and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to say it as yoast or juiced....

I've had a TiVo for years now, and Joost has a very nice user interface that works for me like a TiVo that I can run anywhere, and which has tens of terabytes of stored programs, not just the 30GB or whatever that I have inside my TiVo. The other thing that is better than TiVo is the finding experience. I was able to type "Lotus" into a search box, and find two episodes from "5th Gear" where they were track testing my favorite car. The content is largely European TV at present, and they have enough programs to keep beta testers happy for a while, but are going to need a lot more as the program launches.

The display quality is good, and there is a short delay when a program is first selected, especially if its one of the more obscure programs. The networking is something like a securely encrypted in-order bittorrent. You don't have to wait for the whole program to load before you start watching it.

I posted last year on disruptive innovation as it applies to the moving pictures industry, discussing the concept of a maturity model for innovation, evolution from the cinema to thepiratebay, and a more abstract maturity model. In the final part I made this statement:
The final phase in the evolution of a market occurs as the cost of replication and distribution of the product approaches zero. There is no end user cost to use the Internet to download a movie. A central utility such as YouTube can use a mixture of advertising and premium services (for a minority of power users) to offset their own costs. Peer to peer systems distribute the load so that there is no central site and no incremental cost in the system. The only service that is needed is some kind of search, so that peers can find each other's content to exchange it.
I was talking about how bittorrent based video is inevitably going to dominate over centralized services like YouTube, and there have been reports that most of the traffic on the internet is bittorrent. The inconvenience of bittorrent is that it is basically an overnight batch job to get a program. Joost fixes the problems of bittorrent, while staying as close as possible to free distribution. Joost inserts a small number of short adverts that the Joost client figures out how to target to your interests. These are intended to be enough to pay for the central seeding servers, and to pay the content owners so good programs become available, without becoming intrusive enough to switch off the users.

Based on my own maturity model, Joost is nicely setup to be the end game for this market. That doesn't mean that we stop going to the cinema or watching YouTube, just that Joost could end up being "bittorrent for the masses", and be an order of magnitude bigger than everything else.


  1. Nice writeup on Joost. I think it is pronounced juiced, but what do I know. Any change you can shoot me an invite to the beta? I'd like to try it out.

    Send it to trash_@_craddockfamily_._com (remove the underscores)

  2. Hi.. saw your post on Joost and thought I'd say cheers. I've been trying to get on their beta for a little while, and they emailed me recently saying I should seek out people with invites... so consider this a formal request, perhaps?

    shpinktaar at hotmail dot com.


  3. cud u send me invite too.

    thanks in advance!

  4. Hello Adrian - yes, I too would like to be considered for an invite to joost - if you'll consider, you can find me on xanga w/ the username pamilvr - you'll need create (at least) a disposable account to access my blog - hoping you'll stop by and vist -
    Thank You,

  5. Hi Adrian

    Nice review...makes me want to try joost too. Grateful if you can send invite to


  6. Hi Adrian

    I want to try joost too, send invite to: anderson dot onir at gmail dot com

    Anderson Onir

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I live in Australia and our TV is terrible.

    I'd love an invite.

    Peter Peterson

    rustran at gmail dot com.

    Thanks a lot.

  9. Hi Adrian,

    If you have the patience to send out invitation to all of the above, please send one more to my attention.

    Thank you,


  10. You're a popular blogger, Adrian! I'm quite interested in Joost and I'd like to get in the invitation line, if possible.

    Thank you!


  11. hello, i'd like to try it out too..

    i hope you could send it me the invitation.

    Jorge Luis
    from Spain

    Thanks a lot.

  12. Hi Adrian

    I leave in Australia too and I can confirm our TV here is terrible, indeed! Could you send me an invite too to try Joost?


  13. Awwww Adrian!

    I know you don't know me. But please take pity on an ignorant lass who's only just been informed of joost! I know you were welcomed into the joost community in Jan (zomg!) - i do hope you still have some invites to go round (as of May, joost members now have up to 999 invites to issue, yes yes??). Am a net-savvy (well, not as well as you!) couch potato who sits in front of her com more than her couch nowadays. Help me, pleeease?

    With an abyss full of gratitude & thanks,
    sus o.


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