Joost is a p2p streaming video system. Basically you watch TV on your computer; I’ve been using the beta and it works really well. The limitations are 1. you can’t save the videos, only stream them, and 2. your favorite show is probably not on Joost (yet).
Ars Technica reports that Joost will come out of beta later this month with content from CNN and other Turner networks, in addition to existing deals with CBS and Viacom.
While other net video services like YouTube and Google Video have been hugely successful with short clips, TV networks want more control and more DRM. I’m sure they’re also happy to save on high-bandwidth streaming servers and pass that task to users’ network connections. Joost is a few steps ahead and seems well-positioned to give the networks what they want.
I do think it’s cool that the old media are trying out new distribution methods. But they seem to be sacrificing some key features of web services — searching, repurposing, linking, and layering content via standard, open protocols and APIs. They’ve rebuilt the one-to-many TV network model on top of the many-to-many internet. This may be necessary to secure participation of the old media players but let’s not stop demanding full functionality — which means open interoperability — of these new services.