Monday, April 23, 2007

Joost is coming, but is it ready?

Well, I finally dusted off the Windows XP partition of my laptop and decided to install Joost and try it out. Apparently CBS has just signed some content deal with them, and I'm sure the other networks aren't far behind. For those who don't know, Joost is a new platform for streaming TV content straight to your computer. And for the social networkers out there, there's also some sort of IM client that lets you chat with fellow viewers. Right now the channels are pretty limited. MTV, National Geographic, Comedy Central, and a bunch of indie stuff. So what did I think of it?

Well, first of all, the installer began by cheerfully telling me that my aging Thinkpad T40's video card was not quite up to snuff. AND that 512MB of RAM is really the bare minimum. Hmmm, that would mean there's some 3D jiggery-pokery going on. Nevertheless, it installed and fired up. 30 seconds later, Joost loads full screen with some floating crystals on the side (their logo), and I see a message about my program loading. I didn't select a program, but okay. Two minutes later, an apology. Sorry, but the program you requested can't be displayed. Booooo! I jiggle the mouse a bit and the UI appears and lets me change channels. I load up something in Comedy Central, and a few seconds later, BOOYAA! Full screen TV, good sound, very clear, and the UI gently fades away. I'm thinking, this is cool. Just as I settle in to watch, the screen freezes. The only thing I hear is my harddrive RACING to swap memory. Ah, this is what the installer was referring to. So, the moment was killed. I flipped through some more channels, but I either got a message about not being able to load my content, or five minutes of program and then FREEZE. Too bad. I'm liking the concept. They've got to get some content, they need to stabilize their server-end stuff, and they need to get a linux client out. Then maybe I will try them again on my higher-end desktop machine.

Until then, Joost gets the THUMBS DOWN!

Here's a video of Joost in action. Again, the UI is pretty cool. But even in this video you can see a lot of frame-dropping in full-screen mode. Whoever captured this has a better machine than mine. I guess your mileage may vary. My experience sucked...

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