I was never a TV guy. Except for sports and movies I hardly ever watch anything. Internet access only made this worst. If I want to watch almost anything I go to YouTube. Still there are some other things I enjoy every now and then, documentaries for instance. Although there are some fully featured documentaries on Google Video and YouTube, quality is usually poor and not everything is available.
Then I applied to beta test Joost. And for some months now I've been using it sparsely. My first impressions were not that great, but I decided I'd give it some more time; it paid off.
With the latest version (0.10.7) they solved many of the issues that prevented the experience from being ideal. Speed is excellent; quality is just surprisingly good, content is OK and ads are not annoying (I'll give my opinion on ads further down).
Overall Joost will trim down my "traditional" TV time even more.
Sure enough it does have some shortcomings and bugs, yet the experience this far has been very positive. I think Joost can have a bright future, even though the fact it is not browser embeddable (I happen to agree with the First law of Churbuckean on-line success: make it available through a browser to be popular). Yet this might work in a similar fashion iTunes does it, the added value you get outweights the annoyance of a download and installation.
Now the observations and "advice":
- The interface looks great, the loaders (3 coloured lines that "play" during the couple of seconds each program loads) are awesome; yet it is not very intuitive. It is not hard to learn, but at first glance you struggle a little bit to get things down. Besides it took me a whole week to realize there were more channels available than those listed under "My Channels". Make a couple adjustments to make things more intuitive and easy to access and you'll have a real winner.
- Full screen from launch is not a good idea. I like watching things on full screen but I usually use smaller windows, see, I multitask. I get the sense that programs that launch full screen by default are a little bit invasive.
- Think internationally (yes, I know you are Europe-based). The one thing that is preventing me from getting my wife hooked up with Joost is lack of subtitles. I can understand English on documentaries and other programs, but my wife needs the aid of subtitles. I'm aware this is a shared responsibility between Joost and content providers, yet I haven't seen the option within the program to turn subtitles on or off. Even if content providers are reluctant to pay for subtitles, I'm pretty sure the community would take care of it. It already happens on illegally distributed movies and series.
- Personally: I need a Linux version.
Now, to hook a couple of you out there, here's a shakeoff between Mitsubishi's Evo 6 and Evo 9 (to those connoisseurs the outcome will not be a surprise):
My username on Joost is stevie.glas; and I have a couple more invitations left in case anyone needs them.
Edit: I forgot my paragraph on Ads. I only saw a couple of them during the whole experience, and they were un-intrusive, on-topic and un-annoying. Joost might want to consider giving the alternative of a "pro" paid subscription with no ads as well. I would stick to the regular ad-enabled version, but I know many people who would give off a couple of bucks to avoid them.