Joost for iPhone: Good, As Far as It Goes

By  |  Saturday, November 29, 2008 at 12:04 am

joostlogoJoost, the pioneering video site from the folks behind Skype and Kazaa, is available in a new, smaller form tonight: on the iPhone. In some ways it’s quite impressive–it faithfully brings the Joost look, feel, functionality, and content into an app that feels at home on the iPhone. What you think of it will likely boil down mostly to how you feel about the programming that Joost has to offer.

Some folks who took a look at the app earlier this evening have been reporting playback problems; I haven’t encountered any so far, which may be a sign that Joost has worked out some initial kinks. (There is a disconcertingly long pause with no indication of what’s going on before playback begins in some cases, but once it starts it’s gone smoothly for me.) My biggest gripe from a technical standpoint is that Joost, unlike the built-in YouTube app, only works via Wi-Fi, which limits its usefulness when you’re out and about and can’t depend on being within range of a hotspot:

joosterror

But Joost uses that fast Wi-Fi connection to do some pretty good-looking video–in motion, it looks even better than these still images suggest:

ghostbusters

billmurray

colbert

fifthelement

The Joost player works well (although if you can fast-forward your way through a video, I haven’t figured out how) and the features for searching and browsing work exactly as you’d want them to on an iPhone:

joostbrowse

Other than the lack of support for cellular connections, the big disappointment with Joost ‘s iPhone app has nothing to do with the app–it’s the selection of TV and movie programming that Joost has to offer, which is hit-or-miss, with the emphasis on the misses. Yes, there are 46,000 items to choose from, including some name-brand, full-length TV (Smallville) and movies (Ghostbusters, Fifth Element, etc.). But Hulu simply has a far richer, more interesting treasure trove of stuff to watch–including full-length versions of some items which Joost has only in clip form, such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

You know that Joost’s library is a bit on the thin side when the highlights include…well, for instance, this:

fatalbert

So respectable though Joost’s iPhone app may be, it mostly makes me hungry for a similar Hulu one–especially one that’s not limited to Wi-Fi.

 
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8 Comments For This Post

  1. thehumanyawn Says:

    Joost? Hulu? Either they’re typos or you forgot to put in a transition.

  2. Matt Says:

    I think the Wi-Fi limitation could be a restriction by the Mobile Carriers who don’t want people watching free tv and movies from a 3rd party iPhone developer when they can make subscribers pay for a similar less compelling video service .

  3. Sam Says:

    Hulu isn’t even available in Canada and Joost restricts all the tv shows and movies to the US, so if your not in the US, you have even less selection

  4. Video Games Says:

    Joost is garbage

  5. John Says:

    I agree completely. A big reason why the iPhone 3G is better than the original iPhone is the fact that I can get internet almost anywhere (except where I don’t get service). So, this app doesn’t do much because unless I’m in my house, a friends house, ect I can’t use this. And, You’re right Hulu has a huge selection of shows. I really hope they release an app – I don’t care if it’s free or $15.

  6. Rasmus Says:

    All these dedicated video apps (youtube, Joost) are a waste of time. Just give us a Flash video player already! Even if it limited like the YouTube app to playing h.264 encoded clips it will give access to SO much content, Joost, Hulu, Youtube included.

  7. Samantha Thomas Says:

    I am an addict of Smallville and i watch every series and season of it. I love Lana Lang and Clark Kent.’,~

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