Contact: Paul Yanez
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Who's building Joost?
Niklas Zennstrøm and Janus Friis have been talking about the idea behind Joost for a long time. In early 2006, they started gathering the world's best engineers, web gurus and media visionaries to start building it, under the code name of The Venice Project. More than a year of very hard work later, their vision is ready for public viewing. In that time, Joost has grown from a handful of people in a small office outside Amsterdam to more than 100 people spread right across Europe and North America. Joost is already a global venture, bringing TV to a global, highly networked community. And already, it's setting new standards for 21st-century entertainment.

Co- founder – Janus Friis http://youtube.com/watch?v=tpiUDppHi7I
Co-founder – Niklas Zennstrom http://youtube.com/watch?v=tlh7_-yErJQ
Head of Engineering – Sander Striker http://youtube.com/watch?v=KaXdb-3ShjQ
Head of Technology – Dirk http://youtube.com/watch?v=Tf2CcIjygC4
Executive Vice President - Henrik Werdelin http://youtube.com/watch?v=fjDsRvZMaXE

Whats Joost
Joost is a new way of watching TV on the internet. With Joost, you get all the things you love about TV, including a high-quality full-screen picture, hundreds of full-length shows and easy channel-flipping. Joost provides a new way of watching TV that combines the best of full-screen television entertainment with the interactive and community benefits of the Internet to bring broadcast-quality video to viewers anytime, anywhere. Based on a state-of-the-art, secure, peer-to-peer streaming technology, Joost can be accessed with a broadband Internet connection and offers video content to viewers for free. Joost features more than 150 channels with programming across all genres, including: cartoons and animation; entertainment and film; sports; comedy; lifestyle and documentaries; and sci-fi. Channels and programs available on Joost vary by geographic region, based on copyright ownership.

Technology
The app is based on Mozilla’s XULRunner engine, which basically means it’s cross-platform. Joost is built on open source technology and open standards. To name a few: Mozilla, Apache HTTPD, Redland, Postgres, OpenSSL, RDF, SVG, XUL.

Goal
Is it possible to build a web based application that does not require any downloads, that is comparable to the downloadable executable Joost application. This mashup has been done with 1 flash file as compared to Joost which requires 100's of files.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Browser support overview

Joost does not support browser based viewing, to use the application it must be downloaded and installed. In the last several months users have been forced to continually download and upgrade the Joost software in order to continue using Joost. The flash based version works in all browsers on all operating systems. All enhancements and upgrades are transparent to the user and the application continues to retain the user preferences since the application is hosted on a server.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Channel overview

A major drawback to Joost is the limited content available to it's users since it's model is to distribute videos through content deals. Joost features more than 150 channels with programming across all genres, including: cartoons and animation; entertainment and film; sports; comedy; lifestyle and documentaries; and sci-fi. Channels and programs available on Joost vary by geographic region, based on copyright ownership. The flash version utilizes RSS feeds from the top web sharing sites such as YouTube, Veoh, Google, MySpace, Digg, BlipTV, MetaCafe, IFilm, Pornotube, DailyMotion, Break, Grouper, Heavy and Guba. With archiving capabilities, the number of available videos are in the tens of thousands. Since the videos for the flash version are derived from multiple web sources the content is growing exponentially.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Playback overview

Joost is based on P2PTV technology. The Joost P2P technology isn't always reliable, however, as some users report getting a "This program is unavailable right now. For some reason we can't show you the program right now. Sorry about that. Try again later or try another program." after waiting for a few minutes for programs to start. When this happens with one program, it frequently happens with all programs. The flash version load time is practically instantaneous, there is also a built in mechanism on the backend system to perform an hourly check to ensure videos are still available to avoid issues Joost is currently having. On the front-end detection has been implemented which will skip the video if a stream is deteced as unavailable,. thereby not casuing the player to be in a frozen state.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Video quality overview

Joost's claim to be the new TV also comes with the claim of high quality video. Granted some videos are of high quality but it is also true that some are not. The videos for the flash version are also a mix of high and low qualitity video. But over the last six months the quality has significantly improved with web sharing sites realizing that the brand of it's company is the video.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Video overview

The videos within a channel are presented in list view. The flash version has the same functionality as Joost.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Video info overview

Joost provides a video info panel that dynamically slides out from within the controller once the user clicks on the "i" button. Details within the panel are video name, description and video link, a "copy link" button is also provided. The flash version has the same functionality as Joost with one additional control. A "close button" has been added since most users will have difficulty realizing to close the panel would require clicking on the same "i" button that opened the panel. The transparency of the panel has been significantly decreased since the area that this occupies is right in the middle of the video. Changing the transparency allows the functionality of the panel while maintaining the ability to more clearly see the videos.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Help overview

Joost provides a help interface containing keyboard shortcuts, menu info, tooltips info. The flash version has the same functionality.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

My Joost menu overview

Joost provides a menu to add widgets to the interface. Widgets include: news ticker, instant messaging, a clock, invite friends, rate it, channel chat, advanced settings and blog this. The flash version contains all but 2 widgets, due to the the usefulness of the 2 widgets. One widget it contains that Joost does not have is the webcam chat widget.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Widgets overview

A Joost Widget is a bundle of information that provides Joost viewers with a new facility of some kind, extending and enriching their TV experience. Some examples include a news-ticker, chat and rating tools, and an alarm clock. Widgets can be selected, enabled, and updated from within Joost. They may be stand-alone, or depend upon externally provided sites and services (for example bookmarking services, data services). The Joost Widget framework combines stylish user interface facilities with sophisticated data storage, access, and manipulation tools. Data can be stored locally or on the Web, and widgets can be given access to information about the current program being viewed, as well as interact with viewers via mouse, keyboard, or their remote control. The widgets have a transparency applied so that users are not totally blocked out from viewing any part of the video, widgets can be closed, dragged and moved, and docked in place. The flash version has support for all but 2 widgets, however it does have 1 widget that Joost does not support which is the Webcam chat widget. Users will be able to talk to each other by way of video and not need to type, isn't this the whole idea behind "interactiveTV".

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Limitations overview

Joost has major difficulties performing certain tasks unless the application window is in fullscreen mode and also when the user tries to resize the Joost application. Some features that are not enabled are "Widgets", Joost doesn't even try to run them, a message box in opened and prompts the user to go fullscreen. If a user is in any of the menu windows ( channel, video, search ) and the user resizes the window, the application leaves that screen and automatically goes back to the homepage. Performance becomes an issue when users are resizing the Joost application, the video and components freezing is common. The flash version do not place any limitations and is able to perform all tasks at any resolution, performance is not an issue when the user scales the window.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Chat application overview

Without a doubt the most useful of all the Joost widgets is the text chat widget. Functionality includes the ability to chat with multiple users, embedding icons within your messages, ability to choose a custom nickname, list all people chatting, ability to join other rooms. Issues with the widget from Joost.com forums include the following, the current channel chat widget is for channel chat and not program chat. The mouse pointer does not work within a line of text you have created- only scrolling up/down and using arrows works to move text around before sending a message. Clicking a mouse within a line of text brings it to the end of that line only. There are Issues with basic cut and paste functionality into the textfield. The design of widget is again not consistent with other components. So while the usefulness of this widget is undeniable, the inconsistency of the widget within the Joost application and major functionality expected within a chat application leaves much to desired. The flash version allows users to text communicate with each other and is built utilizing Flash Media Server with capabilities for 2,500 users to simultaneously talk with one another. This component within flash will see a dramatic development shift from the current Joost idea of what a text chat widget is.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Personal profile overview

Joost provides an interface to allow the editing of your personal profile, users have the ability to update their first name, last name, date of birth and gender. The issue I see on this component involves the design, it does not follow any of the standards for font size, window size, layout etc. This seems to happen on teams working on large scale applications, a lone developer not following the standards set by the design team and developing their own design. The flash version has all the capabilities of the Joost version and leverages off the widget framework and is thereby consistent with the rest of the application.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Player resize overview

Joost has major issues with performance on resizing the window. The flash version leverages from the controller framework and presents an interface consistent with the application. There are no performance issues and resizing happens in real-time.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Search & controller functionality overview

The controller contains most of the functionality of the Joost application. Users can pause, play , play next, play previous, change volume state, change channels, get video info, get channel info, seek help, edit user profile, go fullscreen and search. When the user enters a search term the search menu is shown. The flash version supports all the functionaliy of the Joost application. Enhancements made in the flash application are due to increase usability: enlarging all the buttons, enlarging text for enhanced readability, setting different transparencies for each section to separate actions.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Site details overview

Each video is part of a channel, the details of each channel can be accessed by clicking on the top center button. The flash version supports all the fucntionality as the Joost application. The design of the window has been changed to match the rest of the application, also a close button has been added to allow users to exit the window. Or Joost users would have to figure out that the button on the top right of the application is the way to close the window.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Right click overview

Joost does not support right click functionality. The flash version has right click functionality for the following: link to Joost.com, Edit your peronsal profile, Switch between full-screen and window mode, Standbye mode, My Joost, Search, Help with Joost. All items besides linking to Joost.com directly move the user to that part of the application and enables users from having to click multiple times to jump to certain screens.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Tooltip preference overview

Joost does an excellent job placing informative tooltips throughout the entire application for all it's components. The main issue I see with the tooltips is the length and placement of these tooltips, many times they are near sentence in length and cover other core components. The flash version supports all the functionality as Joost with the addition of a toggle button for enabling and disabling the tooltips. When users click this button all tooltips within the entire application are turned off, to turn the tooltips back on, users will simply need to click on the button again.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Ability to drag controller overview

Joost places most of the functionality of the application within the controller which is placed in the lower-middle of the window. The flash version supports this functionality plus enables users to be able to drag the controller anywhere on the screen.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Dock all components overview

Joost detects whether the user is actively moving the mouse and if not after 5 seconds makes all components disappear. The flash version supports the same functionality with the addition of a component which allows the user to override this setting and dock all components. This seems like an obvious feature considering the widget framework uses this functionality.

 

Paul Yanez Labs - Joost Video

Intro overview

Both Joost and the flash version run the intro screen once the application is launched. Joost should allow users to disable the viewing of this screen through a settings interface.