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  • (01. January 2010., 10:27:49)












Author Topic: Joost working on embedded support for TVs, cellphones  (Read 1570 times)

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Amker

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The brains behind Joost aren't content to just serve up video to PC users. The company last week began talking about their plans for world domination via embedded consumer electronics support, which would include building Joost support into televisions, if the P2P Internet TV company gets its way. 
A move away from the PC to other consumer electronics would be attractive. Although Joost's channel lineup is impressive at this early stage, the service faces the same obstacles of other online video services: it's centered around the PC instead of the living room TV.  Rarely is it enjoyable to sit around watching TV shows on a computer monitor while sitting in an office chair. We're all accustomed to watching TV in our living rooms while lounging on plush couches with refreshments. While there are people who can do the Internet-on-my-TV thing with home theater PCs, Joost knows that to really capture viewer's attention (and more importantly, advertisers' attention), bringing Joost into our living rooms is a necessity.

Joost's new CEO Michelangelo Volpi, hired earlier this month, told the New York Times that "Joost is a piece of software and it can reside on a variety of platforms… It could be on a television set-top box. Or potentially it could be embedded in a TV set with an Ethernet connection, or on a mobile phone, or in some alternative device that might come out in the future."

Switching rooms won't be Joost's only struggle. Akimbo, which offers video content to televisions and computers over the Internet, has been doing it for three years with investments from AT&T and Cisco, two companies already deeply rooted in telecom and internet communications. Other companies like Sling Media are focusing on ways to bridge the PC-to-TV gap by remaining media and service agnostic.

Of course, Joost is free and Akimbo and the Slingbox are not, so the company hopes to tackle the competition by making Joost software freely available on televisions and other consumer electronic products, similar to the way Skype was able to get its software embedded on devices made by Cisco (Linksys), Netgear, and Belkin.

This will be a difficult battle, however. Joost will need to convince Sony, LG, Samsung, and other TV manufacturers to include their software on a television, which is akin to asking for a free ride down the road to big advertising dollars. Presumably any Joost hook-up with the likes of Sony will require some kind of revenue-sharing deal, otherwise the door will remain closed until if/when Joost is so popular that supporting it becomes a "feature." Given the fact that Sony has its own plans for streaming Internet video, it's going to take a lot of money or interest to get them involved. Joost could have better luck with set-top boxes, DVRs and products like the AppleTV—the latter of just added YouTube as a feature. 

Joost's move isn't just about getting its service on the TV, though. The beta program has run into quality problems as it ramps up, so the company likely hopes that getting more devices on the 'net that speak Joost-ese will help performance. Joost is P2P-based, much like Skype, and having more nodes can only improve performance. BitTorrent is working on consumer electronics support for largely the same reason. More on that later today.

Joost's new CEO comes with a background in selling network infrastructure equipment to major ISPs, so this move is really no coincidence.

Joost expects to release the full version of their software, which features channels ranging from Comedy Central to National Geographic, to PCs next year, and hopefully to other products shortly thereafter.

Ars technica
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