Joost is a web-based TV service from the makers of Skype and Kazaa - and it's free.
The latest creation of Kazaa and Skype inventors Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, Joost offers you a free, ad-supported, "TV-like" experience at your PC screen - along with some cool interactive tools to help you find new things to watch.
We recently tested the beta version of Joost and came away with a mixed opinion. We liked the look and feel of Joost, but found the picture quality and the video selection somewhat lacking.
Like Skype, Joost has a simple, attractive interface, so you can locate and navigate to shows in just a few clicks. The My Joost area lets you invite friends to watch specific shows while you do; it has a simple IM tool for chatting as you watch. Another widget enables you to use a five-star system to rate the shows you've watched.
Joost's search box, which appears at the bottom of the screen when you move your mouse, returns relevant results - when the keyword matches Joost content. For example, the keyword 'nature' yielded a list of National Geographic specials, but a search on 'Burt Reynolds' came up empty (Joost doesn't carry Hooper yet).
And that's a big issue: Joost's community and content-discovery tools will become fun and useful only if you have plenty of content to search through and chat about. Joost isn't there yet.
Joost hosts roughly 160 hours of professional-grade (that is, not user-generated) video from around 100 content providers worldwide. Some of the Joost video comes from large content owners such as Viacom and Warner Brothers TV Group. Other Joost sources are smaller, web-only producers such as Heavy.com and Lime.