Last week, I sent out Joost invitations to a number of friends and basically to anybody who wanted to try it out. Since then, I've been hearing mixed opinions from people about it, so I thought I'd post my thoughts on the subject.

I was first invited to the private beta back when it was still called The Venice Project, and things have certainly come a long way since then. The quality of the service has improved, the client finally runs in Vista without weird workarounds, and several new "channels" have been added.

Unfortunately, I still think that the quality of the content on the network is lacking, and most other people I've talked to share that opinion. There are a couple of channels that are interesting to watch now and then, but I'd really like to see more mainstream content - shows that people actually watch every week. ABC and NBC, for instance, already allow people to watch popular shows like LOST and Heroes for free on their respective sites. Partnerships between Joost and these networks could be mutually beneficial - the networks would be able to take advantage of Joost's excellent peer-to-peer network to stream content and save on bandwidth, and Joost itself would become significantly more appealing to users if it got a handful of popular shows.

Still, there's a lot to like about Joost. One of the most interesting end-user features for me is the "Channel Chat" widget. Each channel has a separate chatroom where viewers can interact with each other without leaving the full-screen, TV-like Joost interface. Imagine watching an episode of LOST and being able to discuss theories with other viewers in realtime during commercial breaks. I think that would be lots of fun, and would bring a new world of interactivity to television. The infrastructure is already in place, but good content is still missing!

I also like how the video stream resumes from where you left off if you turn off the app and turn it back on later. As Mark from the OSNN forum said, that's how on-demand TV should always have been.

So yeah, I think Joost has a lot of potential, but it won't become something I use on a daily basis unless better content begins to show up.

What are your thoughts?

(Still don't have an invite? Leave a comment here)