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Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Joost Brings Free Internet TV to Everyone

Joost, the promising peer-to-peer Internet TV service has been made available to everyone, allowing all interested users to download and run the service.

After two years of development, a Beta version of the Joost P2PTV software has been released and offers users streaming video content for free. The Beta 1.0 client for PC and Mac is available for free download at

Joost is a P2PTV service, a peer-to-peer (p2p) software application designed to redistribute video streams in real time on a p2p network. The idea of Joost sprang from the minds of Skype's Janus Friis and Kazaa's Niklas Zennstr?m last year, dubbed originally as The Venice Project. The service was launched with the goal of offering ad-supported television content over the Internet, but through a distributed streaming model like that of BitTorrent?instead of pulling video content from a central server, it would instead stream it from multiple users around the 'Net. The P2P service opened up to its first small group of beta testers in December and was renamed to Joost in January 2007.

Joost is currently offering a selection of comedy, music videos, documentaries, movies and the latest hits from some popular media brands, including CBS, Major League Baseball, MTV, Turner, Comedy Central and more - over 15,000 shows to date. The joost team is currently in negotiations with FOX networks. It has signed up with Warner Music, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions (Indianapolis 500, IndyCar Series) and production company Endemol for the beta. In February 2007, Viacom entered into a deal with the company to distribute content from its media properties, including MTV Networks, BET and film studio Paramount Pictures.

One of the interesting things that Joost promised, but hasn?t really done anything with so far, is the ability for developers to use the Joost API to add widgets of various kinds.

Joost, which raised $45 million this spring, has 130 employees across London, Holland, Luxembourg, and New York. The service is ad-supported, with advertising analogous to that shown on traditional TV. But the basic goal of Joost is to make it popular among the mainstream internet users, according to Joost's CEO Mike Volpi. Towards this effort, Joost is expected to be on TVs in the next 18 months. Currently, a HTPC is required in order to stream Joost content to a TV. Volpi said that both software issues and hardware partners must be ironed out before making the leap.

Still, the success of such a project depends on the availability and the reliability of the service, as well as on the quality of the provided content.

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