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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

52 thoughts on “Am I watching the end of cable TV as we know it?

  1. Hello Dustin,
    i also want to test the joost-service.
    Could you please send me an invitation to take part?
    That’ll be very nice. Thanks a lot!
    greetz Carsten

  2. Hey Dustin,

    I’ll take the other one off your hands if its still available! πŸ™‚ Anything I can do to earn it or return a favor? Let me know. I’ve had my envious eye on Joost for a while now, lucky dog!


  3. Pingback: How I Save » Blog Archive » Joost: are YOU on it yet?

  4. hi, i’m from romania, and want to (as many many other people) see the Joost unleashed. But… it require invitations… that i don’t have.
    Just in case you might have some more free invitation, and share it with me, it will be a great favor for me.
    Kind regards,

  5. Dustin, you are going to unleash a storm of invite requests! It’s the new gmail – they were selling for $50+ on ebay a while ago and they’re still hard to get.

  6. Good to know Galen… Because of the “social networking” aspects, my preference is to pass them along to people I know. If any long-time RCG readers (or writers) are interested, those are the people who will get the invites!

    (Call it a RCG perk!) πŸ™‚

  7. i was curious if you still had one of those invites…
    i’m a rain city guide reader… and one of eileen’s employees

    i could start posting on rcg as well…..

    does that get me in?? πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Dustin,

    I am a huge Green Day fan. Thanks for making my day! I will be happy to be a beta tester for you and RCG. May I also share my login with my daughters? The 10 year old will be all over the soccer channel and the 13 year old will want to play inside the Warner Brothers channel and Comedy Central.

    We don’t really sit down to watch TV anymore because time is too precious. It is spent doing homework, attending extra curricular activities, and…..playing on the computer. LOL.

    Case in point. All three of us LOVE Saturday Night Live. We took a trip to NYC last summer and the SNL tour was one of our favorite side trips. We record SNL and watch it together as a family. Scarlett Johansen shopping for a prom dress was hilarious and Andy Samburg’s short “Roy Rules” got us talking about the question, “Is Andy Samburg gay?” Still a great show after all these years. We end up going here the next week and re-watching the clips.

    Is Joost (Juiced?) the end of cable TV? Could it be the end of recording stuff for playback later? I don’t know yet. If you need an answer by a specific date, give me a deadline and I’ll give you a report.

  9. Thanks everyone for all the interest! πŸ™‚

    Jillayne, I just passed along an invite to you! The other one went to a guy at my work who asked for it in person (and I owe him BIG-TIME for product releases he pushed through for me!).

    Allan and everyone else… I’ll continue to return to this list next time I get some invites! πŸ™‚

  10. Jillayne,

    From what I understand, the folks at Joost are being quite judicious in passing out invites (hence: their perceived value… and brilliant grass-roots marketing). Essentially, after you’ve been a member for a few weeks, they will likely let you invite 3 people… I don’t know when the second round of invites will arrive since I’ve not received it yet! πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Dustin,

    Miranda Schlicke here, reporting in for Jillayne, AKA “Mom” to me. I hacked in to my mom’s email account and grabbed the Joost invite.

    My mom told me to give her a full report on the kitchen laptop while she made dinner, something delicious called chicken pockets. After an easy download, to me, it looks like Joost is trying to be a television on the internet, which would be fine if the screen loaded faster. The coolio thing about Joost is movie chat!

    First I tried National Geographic and it took waaaaay too long to load, so I just went over to and IM’d my friends. Well, BFN, need to go do some homework.

  12. Hi Dustin,

    The kids are in bed reading and it’s my turn to play with Joost now. I have a split screen running at the moment will all the Green Day vids locked and loaded. Basket Case, Brain Stew, Jaded, Welcome to Paradise….I love how BIG the screen can get, and then how I can also watch Joost while doing other things. A couple of the clips I chose were not available, others ran halfway through and then an “unavail” notice came up. 85% of what I wanted loaded with no problems

    Uh oh. I am getting in trouble from my kids. They’re telling me to turn down the volume because they’re trying to read.

    There’s something revealing in that role reversal.

    Joost is beyond fun. Miranda says it’s fun-licious

  13. Yes, but can it out cool a Slingbox and a Tivo? The cool thing about Slingbox & Tivo is that it enhances the value of the TV content you’re already paying for. I already get every channel of DirecTV on any device that runs Slingplayer (currently Windows, Mac OS X, Palm OS, Windows PocketPC and Windows SmartPhones).

    Until Joost can get me the Mariners and the local news (at excellent quality), I’m not impressed. πŸ™‚

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