It's been four months since I nailed my Joost beta invitation, and I think by now I'm in a fairly decent position to review the offering that either puts television to bed, or marries television to its longtime nemesis, the computer.
Cool things about Joost:
- The occasional brand-spankin'-new music video
- The occasional good show
- Throwback television (remember Ren and Stimpy? Hell yes)
- The ads, however short and occasional, are getting to be a drag. I don't know how many more times I can look at a Ballpark Frank
- The ad logos in the lower right-hand corner are not much better and, to their misfortune, remind us a lot of the logos that appear on the right-hand corners of daytime network TV
- The 'occasional good show' leaves room for improvement: I Hate My 30s was pretty funny at outset, but increasingly looks like it'll go in the same direction as That '80s Show: the bin. It's a cute idea in theory, but otherwise has a short shelf life. Can't wait for more competitive fare to start popping up, because...
- Most of the rest of the shows are trash. Really, The Guinness Book of World Records? Did I really need to see a dude juggling basketballs or a man who can pull tractors with his beard? This is the kind of stuff you feed people who can't afford cable
Will it wed TV to the monitor? Joost proves, and impressively, that democratic TV-on-yo'-comp is doable, and well.
One awesome thing about the service is my newfound ability to zone out and watch a show in the middle of a coffee shop. That, coupled with Joost's On Demand-esque feature, is as hard as a coffin nail that's sealing in the television monarchy.
I definitely wouldn't pin Joost a YouTube killer; it's a totally different value proposition. I can't imagine kids uploading their dog chases or acting impersonations onto the Joost platform, and I don't think that's what the founders want either.
It goes without saying, I think, that the service could do with a little competition to inspire improvement. Increasing adoption of broadband in more rural areas certainly can't hurt, and the iPhone presents a savory opportunity to bring the platform to a more mobile place.
If it wants to be the TV of tomorrow, it needs to go mobile (these days, aiming for the desktop just isn't high enough). Overall, I'd say Joost has a couple of years to go before it sees ready mainstream adoption.
Update: MarketingVox reports Joost is also too heavy for US broadband speeds. Well, hrm, that sucks.