Click through for photos of Comcast Spotlight bringing the Stanley Cup to Chicago clients, Starz's first Investor Day and more events for the week of Dec. 2.
Joost Is... Joost OK
Now that Joost has officially opened its doors to the teeming Internet millions, I took another look at the service that — according to its prelaunch hype – delivers a brand-new kind of TV experience.
Well, kind of. But on the whole it’s pretty disappointing on two major counts, where "old-fashioned" TV 1.0 still holds a major advantage: Joost looks worse than regular, standard-definition TV, and it doesn’t deliver the satisfying immediacy of live linear programming.
Joost is, basically, a VOD service with a decent selection of mainstream content and good navigation and search features. The startup says it’s stocked 15,000 video clips and full-length TV shows, from CBS, Major League Baseball, MTV, Turner Broadcasting System, Comedy Central and National Geographic Channel, among others. If you’re interested in seeing, for example, some recently aired CSI episodes, you can watch them on Joost.
But to anyone who has ever watched TV (i.e., everyone), the video on Joost is uneasy on the eyes at anything more than postcard-size screen. At full-screen size (1280×1024 on my PC) it’s herky-jerky and a bit blurry. As cable and satellite providers race toward HDTV, Joost is a step in the other direction.
Maybe as broadband-access speeds ratchet up, Joost could start to rival standard-definition TV. But it’s definitely not there today. In the meantime, ABC.com’s "high-definition" streaming videos look better than anything on Joost.
Another bummer: Nothing on Joost you can tune into is happening "now," which — yes, even in the time-shifted world of DVRs and Internet video — is a big part of watching TV.
For instance, the 16 CNN segments currently on Joost are mostly longer-form features. And then we’re back to the first point: While Christiane Amanpour’s God’s Warriors series is something I might watch, I’m not inclined to spend an hour and half in front of my PC watching low-quality versions of the episodes. And I wasn’t interested in clicking on the interactive ads that popped up for Bank of America or the movie Resident Evil: Extinction.
As for the touted "social networking" aspects of Joost, perhaps I’m just too old to care about chatting with other anonymous Internet users while I’m watching TV. I would just be complaining about the video quality the whole time, anyway.