Am I watching the end of cable TV as we know it?

No surprise that I don’t watch much TV (and take the time away from reading blogs???), which makes it all the more surprising that I’ve become addicted to Joost.

Joost is a free TV service/technology from the wickedly-smart guys who brought you both distributed music sharing (Kazaa) and distributed telephone service (Skype). It is “cable-style” in the sense there are a bunch of channels dedicated to specific themes from groups like MTV, National Geographic and Comedy Central.

Just based on their reputations, if I was a Comcast executive, I’d be thinking how can we buy these guys out before I have to pay a Skype-like price for a service that Niklas and Janus have made (essentially) free… again. Any resemblance to dis-intermediation efforts in real estate is completely circumstantial! 🙂

My guess (although I’ve not read this anywhere) is that the backbone of this technology is similar their earlier products in that users are sharing the data with each other as oppose to having any one set of servers stream the information. The beauty of this set-up is that after seeding the correct data, it scales extremely well and service actually improves with more users. The idea being that with more users, there is more likely to be someone local to you who is able to stream you the necessarily data bits.


Niklas and Janus fascinate me in that they continue to pump out products that can only exist in the world of internet technology and allow them to avoid all the pesky hardware issues that follow their competition. Consequently, they build stuff that consumers can (and do) love.

Nonetheless, I agree with the folks from Lifehacker that the quality is not up to cable standards (yet), but I happily overlook this issue thanks to the extreme usability (i.e. fast-forward, multiple programs on any given channel, etc.) as well as the social-networking aspects (i.e. movie chat!). If you’re interested in peeking into the future of TV, I still have two invites to give out! 🙂