Joost's new CEO points to a set-top-box future

Joost logoEarlier in the week Joost, the online TV service from the founders of Skype (see our review), appointed a new CEO — ex-Cisco executive Mike Volpi. Considered by the tech industry as a rising star at Cisco, it seemed natural to ask what Volpi “the router guy” could bring to Joost, a product that is all about software, and perhaps more importantly, content.

Despite previously describing Joost as like “cable television without the need for a set-top-box” (since the software runs on a PC), I’ve long suspected that the company has ambitions to get its software running on something other than a PC that can be more easily connect directly to a TV. Drawing parallels with Skype which started life as a PC-only VoIP application but now runs embedded on a number of ‘Skype Certified’ handsets produced by companies such as Netgear, Belkin, and Linksys (owned by Cisco), it seemed likely that Joost would pursue a similar strategy, and take its software beyond the PC.

Now we know that Volpi will be the person to help Joost achieve that ambition. In his first interview as Joost CEO, he told the New York Times:

“Joost is a piece of software and it can reside on a variety of platforms… It could be on a television set-top box. Or potentially it could be imbedded in a TV set with an Ethernet connection, or on a mobile phone, or in some alternative device that might come out in the future. The flexibility is really high.”

Whilst I think getting Joost to run on a mobile phone is — for the foreseeable future at least — stretching it somewhat (Skype still doesn’t run on most mobile phones), putting the software onto a set-top-box of sorts is easily feasible.

Might the AppleTV be a candidate? asked Om Malik when he got a chance to put five questions to the new CEO. “We would love to put Joost on the Apple TV platform”, replied Volpi. “We know we can make it run on any operating system.”

Whether or not Apple would choose to partner with Joost is another question, as is whether Steve Jobs will decide to open up the company’s set-top-box to third-party developers. Although, if the rumors of an Internet TV partnership with at&t turn out to be true, then a relationship with Joost is highly unlikely.

(For those AppleTV owners who are willing to brave it, some people have already managed to get Joost running on the device.)

Related post: SlingBox: television networks’ friend or foe?

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

36 Responses to “Joost's new CEO points to a set-top-box future”

  1. Mike Mound says:

    Please send me an invite.

    Thanks,

    Mike Mound

  2. Matt_ says:

    Joost could petetialy run on phones like Nokia’s N95 that does H.264 video and has TV out and it can also stream out all that Joost has to so is create a Symbian client .the phone also supports Open GL for the joost overlays

    Symtorrent is already doing p2p http://www.aut.bme.hu/portal/SymTorrent.aspx?lang=en on Symbian phones

  3. Steve O'Hear (editor) says:

    I didn’t know that BitTorrent was running on Symbian mobiles. It’s been disappointing not to see a Skype client for my Nokia e61.

  4. [...] last100 reports that Joost, a hot Internet TV startup from the founders of Skype, may come out with a set-top-box (i.e. allowing Joost to connect to a TV) and a mobile version of their product. Right now Joost is a browser-based app. But it certainly makes sense to bring Joost more into the living room (set-top-box). Perhaps less so to make Joost a mobile app, which last100 editor Steve O’Hear is skeptical of. [...]

  5. [...] last100 reports that Joost, a hot Internet TV startup from the founders of Skype, may come out with a set-top-box (i.e. allowing Joost to connect to a TV) and a mobile version of their product. Right now Joost is a browser-based app. But it certainly makes sense to bring Joost more into the living room (set-top-box). Perhaps less so to make Joost a mobile app, which last100 editor Steve O’Hear is skeptical of. [...]

  6. Ryan Spahn says:

    Hmmm, I say more people will hook their PCs up to TVs(like LCD TVs). The Internet is way more interesting then boring TV.

    Check out my set up http://www.techavid.com I fair to guess more will follow

  7. Steve O'Hear (editor) says:

    @Ryan

    Nice setup, especially the use of mouse gestures.

  8. [...] that might come out in the future. The flexibility is really high.” scooby doo lite briteread more | digg [...]

  9. [...] or in some alternative device that might come out in the future. The flexibility is really high.”read more | digg story Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share [...]

  10. LiamM says:

    if “We know we can make it run on any operating system.” then why is there no linux version yet?

  11. Jose says:

    I am still looking for Joost on the Nintendo Wii.

  12. Jenny says:

    I love Joost. it offers a wide range of high quality channels.

    Jenny
    http://www.spaml.com

  13. [...] or in some alternative device that might come out in the future. The flexibility is really high.”read more | digg [...]

  14. [...] they do what project will they do next? Source Share This [...]

  15. Dell says:

    It’s disappointing to see that potentially, third party developers like those at Joost won’t be able to create software for the Apple TV.

  16. Joe Blunt says:

    Still looking for my joost beta invite…

  17. jan says:

    must be because i’m a tv hater, but to me joost is just as rubbish as tv. just that i can choose the rubbish :) ~

  18. [...] device that might come out in the future. The flexibility is really high.” X Men video gameread more | digg story RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Cartoons Fans Lounge [...]

  19. adam says:

    if you are still looking for a joost invite check out: http://www.apacsweb.com/blog/?page_id=29

  20. [...] last100 reports that Joost, a hot Internet TV startup from the founders of Skype, may come out with a set-top-box (i.e. allowing Joost to connect to a TV) and a mobile version of their product. Right now Joost is a browser-based app. But it certainly makes sense to bring Joost more into the living room (set-top-box). Perhaps less so to make Joost a mobile app, which last100 editor Steve O’Hear is skeptical of. [...]

  21. keanu says:

    2 weeks ago I made same assumption about this new strategy. please review on my blog:
    http://titanoasis.com/blog/2007/05/21/my-idea-on-tv-evolution/

  22. How will they get funding for a set-top box. Also are they going to expect people to pay for it?

  23. Steve O'Hear (editor) says:

    @Motorcycle Guy

    I never suggested that Joost would make the set-top-box themselves but that they would partner with other companies like Skype has. So think Netgear, Linkysys or even other players in the space such as Microsoft, Sony or Apple.

  24. Free Live TV says:

    a lot can be said, for one thing Joost still has a long way to come it simply eats too much bandwidth and it has a high memory resource footprint.

  25. [...] device that might come out in the future. The flexibility is really high.” wonder woman spankread more | digg [...]

  26. [...] Spatzen pfeiffen es von den Dächern: Wird Joost demnächst auf einer Settop-Box (vielleicht Apple TV [...]

  27. [...] Steve O’Hear made me notice this post on Last100. Om Malik asked a specific question to the new Joost’s CEO Mike Volpi: Might the AppleTV be a [...]

  28. [...] will also enable Revision3 to get their content onto other emerging distribution platforms (Joost or Babelgum maybe?), as well as build further relationships with [...]

  29. I think you’re spot on with Joost coming on a set-top box. However, rather than think Apple TV, I think better bets are set-top boxes from Scientific-Atlanta and perhaps even Motorola. These are the two top players in the set-top box market. Interestingly, Mike Volpi helped acquire and then managed Scientific-Atlanta while at cisco, so I think a Cisco/Scientific-Atlanta and Joost/Babelgum partnership would be a big bet. See more at http://techuntangled.com/joost-makes-strategic-acquisition and also http://techuntangled.com/ushering-a-new-era-of-consumer-choice-in-set-top-boxes

  30. [...] which explicitly aims to emulate the “lean back” experience of television. Yet, despite CEO Mike Volpi touting the possibility, the Internet TV service doesn’t currently run on any kind of set-top-box. The same goes for [...]

  31. Brian Layman says:

    Well actually the Joost player is made with the core codec media player and TCPMP plays movies quite nicely and my 3gs Rev A phone has great speed for downloads. That’s why I’m sitting by the pool at the YMCA looking for a Joost Windows Mobile version. All the pieces are here, they just need to be assembled!!!!

  32. [...] idea, but one that every other internet TV service is considering, Netflix, AppleTV, iPlayer, Joost, Blockbuster. This presents an interesting point, noone wants five different set top boxes hanging [...]

  33. Ryan Spahn says:

    Hmmm, I say more people will hook their PCs up to TVs(like LCD TVs). The Internet is way more interesting then boring TV.

    Check out my set up http://www.techavid.com I fair to guess more will follow