Joost – first impressions

Well, my beta invite to join Joost came in on Friday, and up I signed.

Installation a doddle, signing up easy, not massively intuitive interface but I’m getting the hang now. And watched me a video. Currently got an old Fritz Freleng war bond cartoon playing, courtesy of a some channel called ReFrederator. Which can be no bad thing on a can’t-really-be-bothered-to-do-any-work day. Quality’s pretty good in window mode, a bit artifacty in full-screen. Interstitial adverts kinda irritating, but nothing for nothing I guess.

But, and this is a big but, where’s the beef? I can see why those clever Danes had to go legit, but it pitches them into a turf war with the meanest opponents on the planet. Virgin blinked and Sky but the boot in. Consumer on demand is in landgrab phase. Can they compete? The technology, I don’t doubt, is dazzling. But the programmes aren’t and until I can watch 24, CYE, Dr. Who and the rest on Joost, I can’t see it flying. A wise video director I once worked with was asked whether he wanted to shoot on whatever the equivalent choices of HD and film at the time and he said – and this is a line which has stayed with me for a long time – “I’ll shoot it on Sellotape if I can get the right actors”. Point being that it isn’t technology that sells to the punters, it’s what they get to watch on it.

I hope I’m wrong. The broadcast industry is in need of disrupting, and these guys wrote the book on that.


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