You’ve may already have heard of Joost. It predates the iPhone by a couple of years. Joost launched two years ago to much fanfare and critical acclaim. It was the ‘next big thing’ to come out of the dynamic duo Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis who had previously started Skype and Kaaza.
The Joost app for streaming video was good. It was easy to use, picture quality was reasonable, but, unfortunately, it lacked any content worth watching. Around the same time, the world was also discovering Flash based video sites like YouTube and Hulu, and so the requirements for a dedicated app became somewhat irrelevant. Still, Joost persisted, and as well as developing the technology, did deals with major content providers like CNN, CBS and Viacom.
Fast forward to now, and Joost have shutdown their application environment and moved their business online to a web based portal, but as a last dying gasp, they’ve also released an iPhone app that provides access to Joost content.
The Joost app (a free download) is very similar to the YouTube app, but with a couple of differences. Firstly, the YouTube app has much more content, and secondly, and more importantly, the YouTube app actually works. The concept of being able to watch real ‘legitimate’ content on the iPhone is appealing. As good as YouTube is, the quality of the videos can often be poor, and I find YouTube videos on the iPhone slow in general.
But as slow as YouTube may be, it actually works. Which is a whole lot more than I can say for Joost. Try as I may, in my tests of Joost, I just couldn’t get it to actually play video. Sure, the interface works OK, and searching for content seems to function, but, over the week I tried it, I couldn’t get it to play a single clip. All I got when I went to play a clip was an error messages which said ‘Playback Error, the connection to the server was lost. This may be because of poor network quality. Please try again later.’
I tried, and tried again later, but couldn’t get it to work. Maybe you’ll have better luck? It’s a shame, because some of the content looked promising, and having an alternate source of free content on the iPhone is great in theory.
Joost is still new, so perhaps giving them more time to perfect their streaming platform is required. At this point in their life, I think they’ve had enough time to get this stuff right. If this is their business now, and it doesn’t work, you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘why are they still around?’.
Australian Macworld Buying Advice. Joost is an iPhone app that gives you access to the range of Joost content. In my testing, I couldn’t get it streaming video but you may have more luck. Because Joost is free, all you’ve got to lose, if you decide to try it, is your time.