I was one of the beta testers for Joost, the site that offered streaming video — often in higher definition than you get from some Web video sites — of a wide range of content. It offered old made-for-TV movies, current TV episodes, music videos, and a ton of specialty programming that was aimed at a younger demographic than the one I represent. The site used short and fairly innocuous commercial advertisements to fund the site.
Part of the design was that you had to download and install software in order to use the site. Last week, that changed as a new Joost appeared. Using Flash, there now is no need to download anything; just click and watch. The user interface has changed, probably for the better, though I still find it difficult to find the shows I want to watch. The new interface puts more emphasis on social networking; the home page has a Twitter-like feature that lets you know what other people are watching on Joost right now. I don’t expect to hang out on the site enough for this to be an interesting feature, but I can see how some people might get into it.
The site now has more than 8,000 free hours of video content, including more than 18,000 music videos. The content comes from major networks, including CBS, ABC, and Comedy Central, as well as Warner Brothers Television Group, which provides episodes of many of its popular series.
Joost still is not a perfect solution to making quality video easily available over the Internet, but it continues to make progress. If you haven’t checked it out, take advantage of the new no-download design and watch a classic Bruce Lee movie, episodes of Babylon 5, or music videos from your favorite artists. Let me know what you think.