JOOST is out - Is IPTV in next stage of its evolution ?

Joost (pronounced "juiced"), the free IPTV service launched by the same crew of wizards who crafted Skype, this morning announced its commercial launch - replete with a cast of 32 big-name advertisers and content from such top-tier sources as CNN and Sony Pictures.
Joost, developed last year in stealth under the code name "The Venice Project," emerged from hiding in January. It's the brainchild of Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who technically still are eBay employees, on the job ever since eBay bought Skype for $2.5 billion.

Its reported that ads from some of the 32 advertisers already on board - a list that includes the likes of The Coca-Cola Company, HP, Intel and Nike - will start appearing immediately along with Joost content. By the end of the month, all will be on board. Similarly, only about 25 channels are available today but, by the end of this week, the total is supposed to expand to more than 150.

In a separate statement, Joost disclosed five of those content deals, starting with a pact with the Turner Broadcasting System for the broadcast (or Web cast or perhaps JoostCast?) of content including "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and "Robot Chicken." There also will be CNN news programs and talk shows. Sony, meanwhile, will bring what was described as "classic programming from the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties to Joost. The National Hockey League is going to offer "vintage" games along with regular season and playoff highlights - there was no indication that live games will be available.

The most content, Joost says, initially will be available to the United States only, with content limited globally by various copyright restrictions. Still, Joost appears to be the first IPTV offering delivered over the public Internet that has combined a roster of major advertisers and content providers.

The full technical details of how Joost works have not yet been disclosed but general outlines are known. They include the use of a streaming-media engine code named "anthill," the use of licensed rather than home-brewed codecs and -- perhaps the crowning touch -- the use of a modified version of the absolutely free Mozilla browser code (best known as the code behind Firefox and/or Netscape).
Right now, Joost only works on broadband-connected PCs, although the longer-term plan is for it to work on regular TVs with some sort of set-top box arrangement.
In January, when Joost's existence was disclosed, analyst house Ovum said it had learned that Joost generates, on average, 320 MB of download and 105 MB of upload traffic per hour's viewing. Ovum calls that "a pretty hefty amount of traffic," adding it "means that the service will not be suitable for anyone with a bandwidth cap or fair-use agreement from their broadband provider." Such caps are common outside of the United States and, unbeknownst to most American broadband subscribers, fair-use agreements often are buried in carriers' terms of service.

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