Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tech: Joost, or, why hasn't this caught on yet?

P2PTV is still in its infancy, mainly because broadband penetration isn't quite up to the level that would support such endeavors on a massive scale. When it does, I expect TV-over-theNet to be as ubiquitous as iTunes, or potentially even more so (especially if said TV is free and supported only by commercials). A nice model for it might be Joost, a program from the founders of Skype and Kazaa.

With Joost, you can pick which channels to watch and exactly what you wish to watch. They have all sorts of stuff that seems tailor-made for the savvy Web denizen - everything from "Ren & Stimpy" to "Fifth Gear." It's completely free, supported just like how conventional TV is supported - through commercial advertising. Somehow, though, commercials just aren't as intrusive when they're on your PC, and the ads can be targeted to your account - meaning you'll never have to sit through another ad for the AARP if your viewing habits skew young.

There's already stiff competition from services like Youtube and the various broadcast networks' free online content, but Joost seems like a good solution to the problem. It's free, it's completely legal, there's nothing that needs to be stored on your computer, and all it needs to support it are the traditional once-every-fifteen-minutes ads that people have accepted for years. I expect this is the tip of a very huge iceberg...

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