Friday, April 06, 2007

Joost Is Ready To Go Live

TV, the way you want it

The magic of television, with the power of the internet built right in. Joost puts you in control, and TV will never be the same again. Currently, the software is in beta-testing stage. A beta invite is required to join the Joost community however it should be available to the public soon.

Joost (pronounced 'juiced') is an interactive software for distributing TV shows and other forms of video over the Web using peer-to-peer tv technology, created by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis (founders of Skype and Kazaa).

Joost began development in 2006. Working under the code name "The Venice Project," Zennstrom and Friis have assembled teams of some 150 software developers in about a half-dozen cities around the world, including New York, London, Leiden and Toulouse. Joost's CTO is Dirk-Willem van Gulik.[1]

The teams are currently in negotiations with TV networks. It has signed up with Warner Music, Ministry of Sound TV and production company Endemol for the beta.[2] 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.

Company representatives have gone on record as saying the name should be pronounced as "juiced"[3]. This differs from the pronunciation of the Dutch first name Joost, which is pronounced 'Yohst.'

The program is based on P2PTV technology and is expected to deliver near-TV resolution images. It turns a PC into an instant on-demand TV without any need for additional set top box. News updates, discussion forums, show ratings, and multi-user chat sessions (often linked to the active stream/channel) are made possible through the use of semi-transparent widget overlays.

The current version of the software is based on XULRunner and the audio management re-uses the ZAP Media Kit. The peer to peer layer comes from the Joltid company, which also provided the peer to peer layer of Skype. The video playback utilizes the CoreCodec, CoreAVC H.264 video decoder.

Operating system support

Currently, Joost beta/alpha software supports:

* Windows XP Home/Professional with SP2
* Windows Vista
* Mac OS X 10.4.6 and above

This support is limited to computers running with x86 processors (Intel, AMD, etc.).

A PowerPC version is planned to open support for Mac users without Intel processors. Linux versions are also reportedly in development, and the port to "Linux and PowerPC" is in the midst of development.

As opposed to streaming technology in which all clients get the feed from the server, P2P TV technology differs in the sense that the servers serve only a handful of clients; each of the clients in turn propagate the stream to more downstream clients and so on. This moves the distribution costs from the channel owner to the internet service providers.

The Joost service will be ad-supported, with advertising analogous to that shown on traditional TV, according to CEO Fredrik de Wahl.

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