Man, I really wanted to like Joost. They have a very pretty interface and the idea to watch mainstream TV right off the ‘net is a winner. That is, unless you screw it up like Joost did.
First, let’s get what they did right out of the way:
1. Nice Peer-to-Peer network for content, reducing bandwidth bills for the servers, and potentially increasing reliability.
2. Beautiful interface appearance.
OK, now that that is done, here’s what’s wrong.
1. Damn P2P network sucks huge donkey balls.
I sit on a huge pipe at work (and a relatively large one at home.) I can regularly pull 1.5 MB/s from just about anywhere from home. With all this bandwidth, I can’t get a reliable stream from Joost to save my life. It works just as well as most other P2P networks – sometimes huge downloads, sometimes nothing. This is OK for file transfers, but sucks for real-time content.
And I never get tired of the sudden “This program is unavailable right now,” right in the middle of a program.
2. Video quality at least as good as YouTube!
Seriously, most of the video you get looks like complete crap. Literally, it IS as bad as a YouTube video, but blown up full screen. Oh, and combined with the network issues, it stutters every few minutes. So somehow, it’s even less watch-able than YouTube.
3. Fucking annoying commercials.
You know, I can stand watching commercials to an extent. But who was the poor idiot who thought that replaying the same damn unskippable commercial every 4-5 minutes needs a beat-down. The real kicker is that the commercials invariably play flawlessly and have the best video quality of anything you may be watching.
4. Beautiful but broken user interface.
I like the look of the interface, but overall it’s almost universally bad when you actually go to use it. How do you bring up the playback controls? Clicking does nothing, moving the mouse sometimes does it, sometimes not. How do you get them to go away? Apparently, you just have to wait for them to disappear.
And what’s up with that channel/program selector? It keeps loading content dynamically, and you can never figure out where you are in the list because it wraps endlessly. Lots of time there is no text or images loaded and you scroll around with a pile of blank entries and one that’s filled in. Just suck all around.
5. Content is the lamest of the lame.
The onlything I could stand to watch for more than a minute there was the Top Gear seasons. Everything else was some serious B-roll crap that even the ‘torrenters wouldn’t touch. There hasn’t been any significant content added since I was in the closed beta months ago. Oh, yeah, they added WBTV and ten episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Yeah.
6. Widget platform? WTF?
As if we needed yet another desktop clutterer. How about fixing everything else above before the onslaught of ten thousand weather lookups and stock checkers. Yawn.
I really don’t understand how people can stand using the thing. As it is, I hadn’t fired the thing up in weeks until today. I then realized that nothing had changed.
Bye Bye Joost. Let me know if you ever become useful.
Update: Funny – last night I had a power failure, so no TV. I was using the last of the battery power running the network to get some stuff done, and decided to take one last look at Joost. It launched, did some sort of version check, then told me it was out of date, but couldn’t contact he upgrade server to download the latest version. Then quit. I drug the app into the trash. Buh Bye.
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