I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about Joost lately, so I was anxious to give it a whirl. I received my invite (did you get yours?) and fired it up for the first time yesterday, fully expecting an underwhelming experience. Boy was I wrong – this is the future of TV.
First I tried running it on the laptop over the wireless network. I never properly negotiated a connection, but that makes since – Joost is P2P-based, and must be pushing a large amount of information both up and down. After installing it on my main machine, I selected a user name and password, and began experiencing the brave new world of video.
This is, after all, a fitness-related blog, so I began looking for fitness-related video content and found three of note – HealthiNation, The Fit Show and The Recipe Channel. You can see the entire lineup at Joost’s channel page.
HealthiNation is a collection of videos hosted by medical professionals (or, at least, claiming to be medical professionals) providing basic information on a wide range of topics, including asthma, blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, healthy eating and more. The videos are short enough to keep my attention, yet long enough to cover the basic information about a topic fairly thoroughly. I also appreciate the powerpoint-like timeline at the bottom showing upcoming topics within a video segment. I could see this becoming an excellent resource to accompany searches on Wikipedia or health-dedicated sites like MedlinePlus.
I didn’t spend much time watching The Fit Show, but I was intrigued with what I saw. The channel hosts a wide array of videos, spanning from training videos, event coverage, fitness news and topical instructional videos. Chapman Media Group, who runs this channel and the channel’s website at http://thefitshow.tv/ (where you can watch some episodes through a flash player), states “The Fitness Network’s mission is to provide fitness content in an entertaining, educational, and inspirational style who’s voice resonates with the diverse fitness enthusiast demographic.” Buzz-word-speak aside, I was impressed with the videos on offer – training videos were shot using live trainers demonstrating the use of equipment and exercises, individual episodes contained news and training segments, and the professional quality of all videos matched or exceeded what I would expect from a cable TV fitness show. I will definitely be exploring this channel more. Right after watching another episode of GI Joe.
I have to admit, I had high expectations after watching the first two channels. Unfortunately, The Recipe Channel was a little disappointing – I expected a cooking show like something I’d see on the Food network, with a host cooking and talking during the show. Instead, this channel hosts several videos (not yet the hundreds claimed in the description) that appear to be hand-held cameras swooping over ingredients, hovering over cooking bowls and accompanied by new-agey hokie music. While I don’t personally care for the videos, I do appreciate the thoroughness of the video example and the short video lengths. I see this channel being a great accompanying resource for a searchable recipe directory website, but not a channel I would regularly browse.
All in all, I’m pretty impressed with what Joost has to offer so far. It can only get better from here – as Joost adds channels and interactive widgets (which add features like chatting with others viewing the same channel, channel ratings and more), TV will move from a static armchair channel-surfing affair to a serious web2.0-esque overhaul. I can’t wait to see what Joost has up its sleeves.
Now, for more Transformers.